04-12-16 USDA Announces Improvements in Dairy Margin Protection Program…

 NMPF logo 5

USDA Announces Improvements in Dairy Margin Protection Program

Provisions Made to Enhance Coverage Levels, Allow for Additional Family Members to Use MPP

MPP logoARLINGTON, VA – Several important improvements in the new safety net program for dairy farmers were announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, following recommendations made to the agency by the National Milk Producers Federation to enhance the value of the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP).

“We very much appreciate these steps by USDA to implement administrative changes that will improve the program’s usefulness to dairy farmers,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.  “USDA is constrained in what it can do to strengthen MPP, but the program must continue to evolve based on the experiences of NMPF’s members and others in the dairy industry.” Continue reading

04-11-16 Dairy Organizations Seek Congressional Support for Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement…

TPP logo2Dairy Organizations Seek Congressional Support for Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Milk Producers Federation, U.S. Dairy Export Council and the International Dairy Foods Association asked members of Congress in a letter today to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement while also addressing a number of critical implementation and enforcement issues that are key determinants in how the agreement is likely to work in practice. As part of this, the dairy associations urged the federal government to ensure that the other participating countries adhere to their respective commitments within the pact.

Continue reading

03-16-16 NMPF Statement on Senate Vote on GMO Legislation…

 NMPF logo 5

NMPF Statement on Senate Vote on GMO Legislation

From Jim Mulhern, President and Chief Executive Officer, NMPF

ARLINGTON, VA – “Today’s vote is a disappointment, but not a defeat for those of us seeking a strong, clear, national and rational standard for food labeling. 

“Despite today’s vote, we believe a bi-partisan federal policy is within reach, based on discussions with Senate offices in the last few days. We are committed to working to bridge differences and get a compromise agreement through the Senate.

“Passage of a coherent food label disclosure law by Congress is the only logical approach in order to avoid the chaotic mess that would arise from leaving this issue up to the whims of 50 different states.”

The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s 30 cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. Visit www.nmpf.org for more information.

SOURCE

Continue reading

03-09-16 NMPF Board of Directors Approves Changes in FARM Program Version 3.0…

 NMPF logo 5

NMPF Board of Directors Approves Changes in FARM Program Version 3.0

National Dairy FARM Program Logo

ARLINGTON, VA – The National Milk Producers Federation Board of Directors yesterday approved changes to the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program to strengthen the effectiveness and credibility of its animal care standards. 

Revisions to the FARM Program occur every three years and are based on input from farmers, veterinarians, and others involved in the FARM Program’s Technical Writing Group, NMPF’s Animal Health and Wellbeing Committee, and recommendations received through a public comment period. The revision process began in May 2015; the NMPF Board’s decision to approve the recommended revisions was the final step in the nearly 10-month process. The updates approved Tuesday during NMPF’s Board of Directors meeting will be reflected in version 3.0 of the program when it is implemented starting Jan. 1, 2017.  Continue reading

03-08-16 NMPF Board Endorses Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement…

 NMPF logo 5

NMPF Board Endorses Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

ARLINGTON, VA – The National Milk Producers Federation voted Tuesday to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, an historic pact between 12 countries containing features that will help America’s dairy farmers in the future.  The organization is now urging Congress to pass the agreement this year, even as it also registered concerns with another major trade pact being negotiated with Europe. Continue reading

03-03-16 NMPF President Tells Senate Panel about Possibilities, Pitfalls with Past Free Trade Agreements…

 NMPF logo 5

NMPF President Tells Senate Panel about Possibilities, Pitfalls with Past Free Trade Agreements

WASHINGTON, DC – Even after free trade agreements are negotiated by the U.S. government, the value of the pacts depends greatly on the ability of the United States to make other countries live up to their commitments when the agreements are enforced, according to the National Milk Producers Federation, whose president testified today at a Senate hearing on the lessons from how past trade agreements have been implemented.

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, told members of the Senate Finance committee Thursday that trade has become critically important to America’s dairy sector, thanks to the Uruguay Round and numerous new U.S. free trade agreements since 1994.  Even as dairy exports have grown, assisted in sizable part by the arduous, careful negotiations of the treaties, in some cases we have “to work almost as hard to ensure that the market access terms of the agreements are not subsequently undermined,” Mulhern said.

Continue reading

03-01-16 NMPF Supports New Senate Food Labeling Bill Approved Today by Agriculture Committee…

NMPF - US Dairy Export Council joint logo

NMPF Supports New Senate Food Labeling Bill Approved Today by Agriculture Committee

ARLINGTON, VA – The National Milk Producers Federation today urged the full Senate to act quickly on legislation that would establish national regulations to bring consistency and transparency to the labeling of ingredients and processes used in the food supply. Continue reading

01-14-16 NMPF: Dairy industry voices pros and cons to TPP in front of U.S. International Trade Commission…

NMPF - US Dairy Export Council joint logo

Dairy industry voices pros and cons to TPP in front of U.S. International Trade Commission

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) continued to play an active role in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement process this week, as USDEC President Tom Suber testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) representing the U.S. dairy industry. Continue reading

12-18-15 NMPF Praises Inclusion of COOL Repeal, Tax Relief for Farmers In Year-End Federal Government Spending Bill…

 NMPF logo 5

NMPF Praises Inclusion of COOL Repeal, Tax Relief for Farmers In Year-End Federal Government Spending Bill

ARLINGTON, VA – Several crucial items for dairy farmers were approved by Congress in a massive year-end spending bill adopted Friday, including permanent tax relief for agricultural equipment purchases and the prevention of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. dairy products, the National Milk Producers Federation said today.

The must-pass omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year 2016, coupled with a major tax package, together were used as catch-all vehicles for a number of items important to the dairy sector, including: Continue reading

12-08-15 Dairy Groups Again Urge Congress to Solve Country-of-Origin Labeling Dispute…

NMPF - US Dairy Export Council joint logo

After WTO Release of Retaliation Amount, Dairy Groups Again Urge Congress to Solve Country-of-Origin Labeling Dispute

ARLINGTON, VA – In response to a World Trade Organization (WTO) decision today announcing that Canada and Mexico are authorized to apply a total of over $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs to U.S. exports, dairy producers and exporters renewed their call for Congress to take swift action to eliminate the threat to dairy exports. Continue reading

12-08-15 NMPF: Comments Sought on Version 3.0 of the Farm Animal Care Manual…

 NMPF logo 5

COMMENTS SOUGHT ON VERSION 3.0 OF THE FARM ANIMAL CARE MANUAL

National Dairy FARM Program LogoNMPF is looking for feedback on the third update to its reference manual from those participating in the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program. Open to all dairy farmers, co-ops and processors, the FARM Program sets the highest standards for dairy animal care. The reference manual, which outlines best management practices central to the program, is reviewed and reissued every three years.

This fall, NMPF’s Animal Health and Well-being Committee approved edits to the manual suggested by the FARM Program Technical Writing Group, comprising academics, veterinarians, producers and co-op staff who reviewed the latest research, discussed feedback received from FARM Program evaluators and sifted through recommendations from large dairy customers. Continue reading

12-08-15 NMPF: FDA Rejects Mandatory Labeling of GMO Foods, Releases Own Recommendations…

 NMPF logo 5

FDA REJECTS MANDATORY LABELING OF GMO FOODS, RELEASES OWN RECOMMENDATIONS

FDA LOGO BLUEThe conversation over genetically modified organisms flared up at the end of November, when the FDA made several big announcements on the issue. Most notably, it rejected a consumer activist petition seeking mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients, and then released its own recommendations on the voluntary labeling of GMO foods. Continue reading

12-08-15 NMPF Urges Congressional Fix of COOL Program to Stave off New Dairy Tariffs…

 NMPF logo 5

NMPF URGES CONGRESSIONAL FIX OF COOL PROGRAM TO STAVE OFF NEW DAIRY TARIFFS

NAFTAWith the World Trade Organization announcing today that Canada and Mexico can slap $1 billion in new tariffs against U.S. exports, NMPF is pushing Congress to fix the country-of-origin labeling law for meat as soon as possible.  The WTO said Monday morning that Canada may impose retaliatory tariffs of up $782 million, and Mexico may enforce $228 million in tariffs, on imported U.S. products to recoup damages caused by U.S. country-of-origin labeling rules for meat. Continue reading

12-08-15 NMPF News: 5 Other Dairy Producer Priorities Pending As Congress Nears Adjournment…

 NMPF logo 5

FIVE OTHER DAIRY PRODUCER PRIORITIES PENDING AS CONGRESS NEARS ADJOURNMENT

NMPF is currently working hard on Capitol Hill on a handful of other legislative items important to dairy producers.  The following items may also be approved by Congress in the final weeks of its 2015 session: Continue reading

12-08-15 NMPF News: Milk Truck Weight Limit Amendment included in New Highway Law…

 NMPF logo 5

Milk Truck courtesy of NMPFMILK TRUCK WEIGHT AMENDMENT INCLUDED IN NEW HIGHWAY LAW SIGNED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA

The highway transportation bill signed by President Obama last Friday includes a provision allowing milk trucks in some states to carry more dairy products without unloading some of their shipment at state borders – a development that will benefit dairy farmers and cooperatives.

The bipartisan amendment, supported by NMPF, was sponsored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) and championed by committee member Reid Ribble (R-WI). It gives states the option to issue permits to milk haulers to increase their truck weights beyond Interstate Highway System limits. The permits, however, would still need to comply with each state’s trucking laws. Continue reading

12-03-15 NMPF News: Dairy Groups Urge Congress to Fix Country-of-Origin Labeling Problem in Year-End Spending Bill…

 NMPF logo 5

Dairy Groups Urge Congress to Fix Country-of-Origin Labeling Problem in Year-End Spending Bill

ARLINGTON, VA – Dairy producers and exporters today urged Congress to eliminate the threat of damaging new tariffs on dairy exports to Canada and Mexico by solving a trade dispute over country-of-origin meat labeling in the massive year-end spending bill currently being negotiated on Capitol Hill.

In a letter sent Thursday to House and Senate leaders, the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council expressed increasing alarm that new tariffs targeted at U.S. dairy exports to the two neighboring nations are potentially only weeks away. Continue reading

11-16-15 NMPF News: New 2016 FARM Residue Prevention Manual Focuses on Antimicrobial Stewardship…

 NMPF logo 5

New 2016 FARM Residue Prevention Manual Focuses on Antimicrobial Stewardship

ARLINGTON, VA – The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has released an updated version of its Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual – one of the key components of theNational Dairy FARM ProgramTM. In order to share the information widely with dairy farmers, the manual can be accessed for free on the FARM program website. This year’s manual includes additional information that focuses on ways the dairy industry can proactively engage in antimicrobial stewardship efforts. Continue reading

08-28-14 NMPF Pleased with Newly Unveiled Margin Protection Program for Dairy Farmers…

NMPF-National Milk Producers Federation logo 2

Sign-Up for NMPF-Designed Insurance Program Runs Through November 28

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – The new margin protection insurance program for dairy farmers, which was developed by the National Milk Producers Federation and enacted in the 2014 Farm Bill, was formally unveiled today by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. NMPF said it is pleased with the overall provisions of the new program, and urged farmers to begin familiarizing themselves with what will be a “valuable tool” to help manage farms’ financial risks in the future.

“Today’s release of the new dairy program’s details is the culmination of five years of work by NMPF, the nation’s dairy cooperatives and other farm groups to create an important new safety net for dairy farmers,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. “We applaud the U.S. Department of Agriculture on its hard work during the past six months putting the final touches on the dairy provisions of Congress’s Farm Bill. While some of the issues we raised could not be fully resolved in the short time available to complete the rulemaking, we’re pleased with the final package.”

Mulhern said NMPF will be working in the coming weeks to help dairy farmers understand the importance of the new safety net program. He said the organization is updating its www.futurefordairy.com website with relevant information for farmers, including a spreadsheet of historical margin trends, and an online calculator that will allow farmers to enter pricing and production data to help them select insurance coverage levels in the future.

Every farm producing milk commercially is eligible to sign up for the new program. USDA said producers can sign up at their local Farm Service Agency offices starting on Sept. 2, and the sign-up period will run through November 28. This 13-week period will allow farmers to register for coverage for the last four months of calendar year 2014, as well as for the entire year of 2015. There is a $100 sign-up fee for each calendar year, which qualifies a farmer to receive free, basic margin insurance coverage. Once farmers pay that fee, they are enrolled in the MPP for its duration, through 2017, and must annually pay at least the $100 fee.

The MPP allows farmers to protect the margin between milk prices and feed costs. Producers will insure their margins on a sliding scale, and must decide annually both how much of their milk production to cover (from 25% up to 90%), and the level of margin they wish to protect.

Basic coverage, at a margin of $4 per hundredweight, is offered at no cost. Above the $4 margin level, coverage is available in 50-cent increments, up to $8 per cwt. Premiums are fixed for five years, but will be discounted by 25% in 2014 and 2015, for annual farm production volumes up to 4 million pounds. Premium rates are higher at production levels above 4 million pounds.

Importantly, USDA agreed with NMPF that the lower premiums will apply to the first 4 million pounds of a farm’s enrolled annual milk production, regardless of the farm’s total production. For example, a farm with an annual production history of 8 million pounds that elects to cover 50% of its production history would pay the lower rate on all 4 million pounds enrolled in the program. Farmers will be able to change their coverage (the percentage of milk insured, as well as margin level) on an annual basis, with USDA establishing a 90-day enrollment window of July 1-Sept. 30 each year after 2014.

The MPP’s margin definition is the national all-milk price, minus national average feed costs, computed by a formula NMPF developed using the prices of corn, soybean meal, and alfalfa hay. Farms in the program will be assigned a production history consisting of their highest milk production in either 2011, 2012 or 2013. A farm’s production history will increase each year after the farm first signs up based on the average growth in national milk production. Any production expansion on an individual farm above the national average cannot be insured.

When the margins announced by USDA for the consecutive two-month periods of Jan.-Feb., Mar.-Apr., May-June, etc., fall below the margin protection level selected by the producer (from $8/cwt. down to $4), the program will pay farmers the difference on one-sixth (or two months’ worth) of their production history at the percentage of coverage they elected to insure. Premiums must be paid either in full at sign-up, or 25% by February 1, with the remaining 75% balance to be paid by June 1. NMPF had urged USDA to provide greater flexibility on producer premium payment, such as through milk check deductions. “While USDA advised us they did not have time to set up such a system for the initial launch of MPP, we will continue to work with the department in an effort to modify this feature for future years,” Mulhern said.

“The new Margin Protection Program is more flexible, comprehensive and equitable than any safety net program dairy farmers have had in the past,” Mulhern said. “It is risk management for the 21st century, and we strongly encourage farmers to invest in using it going forward.”

Also today USDA issued the rules for another element of the farm bill’s dairy title design to help farmers: a Dairy Product Donation program through which USDA will purchase consumer-packaged dairy products for food assistance programs during extreme low-margin periods. “This is a positive step as well,” said Mulhern, “since it will stimulate demand, help dairy farmers when they need it most, and provide additional food to those in need.”

The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s 30 cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. Visit www.nmpf.org for more information.

Continue reading

07-14-14 NMPF Endorses Draft U.S.-Canadian Plan for Regionalization of Trade If Countries are Confronted with Outbreak of Serious Animal Disease…

NMPF-National Milk Producers Federation logo 2

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — The National Milk Producers Federation today endorsed a draft plan for allowing the U.S. and Canada to cope with an outbreak of a serious foreign animal contagion, such as foot-and-mouth disease, suggesting the plan is a template for similar plans involving other important dairy export markets.

The plan, drafted by the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, calls for the United States and Canada to recognize each other’s efforts to control an outbreak, while regionalizing how the outbreak is handled, so as to allow continued trade with disease-free areas of the country.

In comments filed with APHIS Monday, NMPF, the voice of 32,000 dairy farmers in Washington, noted that Canada is the second-largest export market for U.S. dairy products, and that an outbreak of a highly contagious animal disease such as FMD in either country could be catastrophic for the U.S. dairy industry.

“We applaud the Agriculture Department for working with its Canadian counterparts to prepare for a foreign animal disease outbreak,” said Jamie Jonker, NMPF’s vice president for sustainability & scientific affairs. “We fully support the draft plan and see it as an effective tool for dealing with an outbreak.”

The plan, officially termed a framework, calls for the two countries to cooperate in establishing quarantine areas that would be the focus of disease eradication efforts in an outbreak. Trade could then resume or continue in areas considered free of disease.

“The framework will facilitate continued trade between disease-free areas, while safeguarding animal health in both countries,” said Jonker. “NMPF encourages USDA to use this approach as a template for other countries that are important U.S. dairy export markets.” These countries include Mexico, China, Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

This is in contrast to another USDA proposal earlier this year, which NMPF determined had significant flaws, because it will allow imports of fresh beef from certain parts of Brazil which have a history of foot and mouth disease.

“We are happy to have Brazil export its enthusiasm for soccer,” said Jonker, “but the last thing we need is for that country to send us its FMD problems.”

Over the last decade, U.S. dairy exports have increased more than 20 percent annually and the United States is now a global leader in exports for products including cheese, skim milk powder, whey products and lactose.

The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s 30 cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies.

Visit www.nmpf.org for more information.

SOURCE Continue reading