NMPF Statement on USDA Announcement to Allow Farmers to Opt Out of Margin Protection Program
From Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, NMPF
ARLINGTON, VA – “The Margin Protection Program (MPP) in its current form has been a disappointment to many dairy farmers, which is why NMPF has been working both with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Congress to make significant improvements to the program. We had earlier suggested to USDA that, given this level of dissatisfaction, one option would be to allow farmers to opt out of the MPP in the coming calendar year.
“Today’s announcement to allow farmers to opt out of the program in 2018 is a welcome development, in that it acknowledges the widespread dissatisfaction among farmers enrolled in the program. Simply put, the way the program was enacted in the 2014 Farm Bill, it does not meet the needs of America’s dairy farmers today, and declining participation levels amply illustrate farmers’ disenchantment with the MPP. Farmers who choose to opt out of the MPP will then be able to enroll in the Livestock Gross Margin program for 2018.
“Looking ahead, Congress must make more resources available to the MPP, so that the program provides a more effective, affordable safety net – one that provides support when farmers need it. We are currently working with lawmakers to secure program improvements that will restore farmers’ faith in the value of the MPP. We also will continue to work with USDA and Congress to develop additional risk management options for dairy producers.” Continue reading
NMPF Leaders Applaud European High Court Ruling Preventing Imitators from Using Dairy Names
PARIS, FRANCE – The recent European Court of Justice ruling upholding European Union regulations that prevent plant-based dairy alternatives from using terms like “milk,” “cheese” and “yogurt” is a victory for the same battle occurring in the United States, leaders of the National Milk Producers Federation told their French dairy counterparts here today.
During a visit Friday with French dairy cooperative Sodiaal and the French Dairy Interbranch Organization (CNIEL), NMPF’s board officers applauded the European high court’s ruling that upholds the standards of identity and labeling for milk products, and emphasized that NMPF will continue to fight for the enforcement of existing U.S. dairy food regulations.
“The European Court of Justice did just what we’re asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to do: Uphold and enforce current standards of labeling for milk and milk products,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO. NMPF is leading efforts on Capitol Hill to pass the DAIRY PRIDE Act, legislation that would require FDA to develop a timetable for enforcing standards of identity for dairy foods. Continue reading
Dairy Farmers Discuss Policy Priorities During Capitol Hill Visit
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dairy farmers from across the country visited Capitol Hill today as part of the National Milk Producers Federation’s annual young farmer fly-in to Washington, where in more than 200 meetings they asked lawmakers for action on a handful of issues important to the dairy sector.
More than 70 farmers from 21 states visited their House and Senate members Tuesday as part of their role as national leaders in the 2017 NMPF Young Cooperator (YC) program. The dairy producers discussed the challenges they currently face, and highlighted four priority policy issues that need Congress’ attention: Continue reading
Dairy Groups Pledge to Work with Trump Administration on NAFTA Modernization
ARLINGTON, VA – Two leading dairy groups said today they will work with the Trump Administration to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to make sure it safeguards open trade with Mexico and confronts increasingly protectionist dairy policies by Canada.
In joint comments sent to the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) describe the existing North American dairy landscape as one in which U.S. dairy products flow relatively unhindered to Mexico but are curtailed by Canada’s increasing use of policy tools violating international trade obligations.
“NAFTA has accomplished a great deal over the past two-plus decades, but it has also been overtaken by new, unanticipated forms of trade and trade problems,” said Tom Vilsack, U.S. Dairy Export Council president and CEO. “We agree that NAFTA could use a facelift and our industry looks forward to working with the Trump Administration to explore ways to preserve and strengthen it.”
Since NAFTA’s implementation, the United States has shifted from being a consistent net importer of dairy products to being a significant net exporter. Over the past five years, cumulative U.S. dairy exports are more than double the import total.
“The relationship between the dairy sectors of the U.S., Mexico and Canada is of such great importance to all of our nations that we need to devote the time and effort to make it better,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “A modernized NAFTA agreement must preserve the open and dependable trade relationship with Mexico, and remove remaining barriers to trade that were not adequately addressed in the original agreement.” Continue reading
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NMPF: World Milk Day Shines Light on Important Public Health Role of Dairy Foods
ARLINGTON, VA – As part of the commemoration June 1 of World Milk Day, the National Milk Producers Federation said the public health case for the consumption of milk and other dairy foods is stronger today than ever – a fact that is increasingly recognized by health experts and consumers in the United States and across the globe.
“Today’s celebration – which coincides with the start in the United States of national June Dairy Month – acknowledges the inimitable role that milk and other dairy foods play in our diets,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “The undeniable good news about dairy products starts with its unmatched value as a superfood – no other food source comes close to providing the same nutrition.”
NMPF Facilitates NCIMS Passage of Proposals to Enhance Safety of Dairy Foods
Federation’s Efforts Help Achieve Balance and Eliminate Ambiguities in Milk Regulatory Program
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) helped secure several positive developments for dairy farmers and their cooperatives at the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) this week, as multiple NMPF-led initiatives won approval from the NCIMS delegates during their biennial meeting here.
The NCIMS is a national cooperative regulatory program that includes state milk regulatory agencies, dairy companies and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which work together to ensure the safety and integrity of Grade “A” dairy products. The six-day NCIMS meeting concluded Wednesday, after delegates approved approximately 40 of the 100 proposals offered to revise the conference’s model milk sanitation ordinance and supporting documents.
“NMPF appreciates the opportunity to advocate on behalf of our members and is proud of our relationship with the NCIMS Conference and its participants,” said NMPF Vice President for Dairy Foods Beth Briczinski. “The collaborative spirit of this year’s conference again demonstrated the NCIMS motto of ‘Assuring the Safest Possible Milk Supply for All the People.’” Continue reading
NMPF: State Milk Regulators Ask FDA for Assistance on Assuring Proper Use of Dairy Product Terminology
Lacking Clear Direction, States Seek Guidance on Policing Labeling Inconsistencies
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH – State milk regulators today requested that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) work with them to enforce the proper use of milk and milk product labeling terms, especially those meant to distinguish between real dairy products and plant-based imitators – a development the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) hailed as “the strongest statement yet that the abuse of dairy terms has gone too far.”
“It’s time for FDA to work with state agencies in defending standards of identity for dairy products,” said Beth Briczinski, NMPF’s vice president of dairy foods and nutrition. Continue reading
NMPF: National Dairy FARM Program Releases Stockmanship Training Video with BQA
ARLINGTON, VA – The National Dairy FARM Program announced today the release of a stockmanship training video as part of the program’s partnership with the National Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program.
The 27-minute video is divided into several chapters, including “Point of Balance,” “Understanding the Flight Zone” and “Utilizing Tools to Effectively Move Cattle.” Each segment contains reminder points and multiple choice questions to test viewers on the content. The video can serve as a training resource to satisfy the FARM Animal Care Version 3.0 requirement for annual employee training.
The video, directed by Dr. Robert Hagevoort of New Mexico State and the U.S. Dairy Education & Training Consortium, is available on the FARM Program website and YouTube page in both English and Spanish. Continue reading
NMPF Statement on Senate Confirmation of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue
From Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, NMPF
ARLINGTON, VA – “We congratulate Secretary Sonny Perdue on his confirmation by the Senate today, and we’re eager to work with him on the challenges facing the nation’s dairy farmers – issues he’s already indicated he will tackle at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“Secretary Perdue knows that dairy farmers depend on export markets around the world and closer to home, which is why it is important for USDA to insist on preserving market access to key customers in Mexico, and demand that Canada plays by the international trade rules to which it has already agreed. Continue reading
NMPF President Says Strengthening Dairy Safety Net Program Must be Priority as Farm Bill Discussions Commence
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress begins its deliberations on the next farm bill, improvements to the dairy Margin Protection Program must be a top priority for lawmakers, said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, who spoke today before the House Agriculture Committee.
During the farm bill hearing on Capitol Hill, Mulhern told committee members that the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) is failing to live up to its intended role as a viable economic safety net for farmers, and that a series of changes is needed to restore dairy producers’ confidence in the program. Mulhern’s full testimony can be found here.
“While MPP was, and is, the right approach for the future of federal dairy policy, the program in its current form does not provide meaningful safety net support to the nation’s dairy farmers,” Mulhern said. Continue reading
NMPF Recommends Changes to Margin Protection Program to Make It Viable Safety Net for Farmers
ARLINGTON, VA – The National Milk Producers Federation Board of Directors today unanimously approved a series of recommended changes to the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) that will restore several key elements first proposed by NMPF during development of the 2014 Farm Bill. These changes to the MPP will ensure an effective safety net for the nation’s dairy farmers – if the recommendations are adopted by Congress.
The recommendations range from changing the way dairy feed costs are calculated, to providing farmers greater flexibility in signing up for coverage and using other risk management tools. The four-point plan was developed by NMPF’s Economic Policy Committee, and reflects feedback from dairy producers, economists and members of Congress. It reflects several features originally proposed by NMPF that were subsequently weakened or eliminated as the 2014 farm bill was finalized.
“Improving the MPP to make it a more realistic, effective safety net is a key focus for our membership in 2017,” said NMPF Chairman Randy Mooney. “For dairy farmers to have confidence in the MPP, we need Congress to make these corrections as soon as possible.” Continue reading
NMPF Commends Executive Order to Begin Rollback of Waters of the U.S. Rule
From Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation
ARLINGTON, VA – “President Donald Trump’s decision today to roll back the controversial Waters of the U.S. regulation is a welcome development for the nation’s dairy farmers, who have been concerned by the continuing lack of clarity and certainty generated by this policy. Today’s action signals that the Trump Administration recognizes we need to go back and rethink the entire process that led us to this point.
“The Waters of the U.S. rule was finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers in 2015, but was subsequently blocked by a federal appeals court, which has suspended nationwide implementation of the regulation. Today’s decision directs EPA to revise or rescind the rule that expanded the number of waterways that are regulated under the Clean Water Act. Despite NMPF’s best efforts to influence EPA’s work on this measure several years ago, we were disappointed with many aspects of the final rule. Continue reading
NMPF, USDEC Statement on Selection of New U.S. Trade Representative
ARLINGTON, VA – “America’s dairy farmers and processors welcome the opportunity to work closely with Robert Lighthizer as the new U.S. Trade Representative. The role of the U.S. Trade Representative is critical to successful U.S. engagement with growing global markets. Mr. Lighthizer’s previous experiences as Deputy USTR, Chief of Staff for the Senate Finance Committee, and his direct private sector engagement in enforcing trade rules on behalf of his clients will serve him well in forging a path forward on trade policy that will benefit this country. Continue reading
FARM Program, Merck Animal Health to Jointly Offer Animal Care Training Webinars for Version 3.0
ARLINGTON, VA – The Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program announced today it is teaming up with Merck Animal Health to offer a series of informational webinars as part of the FARM Version 3.0 rollout. This webinar series will further build upon the strong partnership between the Merck Dairy Care365® Program and the FARM Program that was established last year.
The National Milk Producers Federation and Merck Animal Health announced last summer that the two groups would collaborate to help ensure a comprehensive, industry-wide approach to employee training and animal care in the dairy industry. Through the partnership, dairy producers across the country have access to the tools, resources and workshops available through the Merck Animal Health Dairy C.A.R.E.™* Initiative, which is nicely designed to complement FARM. Continue reading