Posted: November 13, 2013 at 2:31 pm
By News Editor
At this week’s National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) annual meeting, a newly-released annual assessment derived from 8,000 second-party evaluations, found universal adoption of many of the best practices from the Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program.
“The thousands of data points this program collects on an ongoing basis show that dairy farmers aren’t just talking the talk about animal care – they’re performing dozens of practices on a daily basis to provide for animal well-being and produce high-quality milk,” said Jamie Jonker, NMPF’s vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. “Still, we’re not yet where we want to be. The journey is continuing.”
NMPF has released its 2014 safe use manual for antibiotics and other animal drugs. The Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual permits producers to quickly review those antibiotics approved for use with dairy animals. It can also be used to educate farm managers in how to avoid drug residues in milk and meat.
Posted: November 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm
By Jamie Johansen
The animated Dairy REAL Seal Character finally has a name. After a nationwide vote, the cartoon character who is helping to build awareness of the advantages of real dairy foods has been named DairyUS. The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) made the announcement today during their annual meeting.
The character was modeled after the iconic REAL Seal logo and will help educate a new generation of consumers about the difference between genuine U.S. dairy products and imitations. The icon is part of an effort to revitalize the seal, which was created in the 1970s and is already used on more than 10,000 food products.
NMPF asked the public to suggest names for the character last summer, using the REAL® Seal website and new REAL® Seal Facebook page. Three finalists were selected from among more than 100 names submitted. An online vote was held from mid-September through Election Day, November 5.
In all, nearly 800 votes were cast. DairyUS, suggested by Kathryn in Clermont, Iowa, received 379 votes. The runner-up, Milkdrop, received 343 votes, while the third finalist, Roscow, received 74 votes. The results of the vote were announced today at the NMPF annual meeting, being held in Phoenix, Arizona.
“DairyUS will help both kids and adults learn about foods made with real dairy products,” said NMPF Chief Operating Officer Jim Mulhern. “The REAL® Seal not only means a product is a real dairy product, but that it is made with milk from cows on U.S. dairy farms and without imported, imitation or substitute ingredients.”
Posted: October 29, 2013 at 6:33 pm
By News Editor
The latest addition of Dairy Data Highlights from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) is available. The handy, pocket-size booklet includes 53 tables and 19 graphs filled with national and state milk and dairy production data from the mid-1970s through 2012.
Dairy Data Highlights has been published annually by NMPF for more than 60 years. A must for anyone involved in milk production, it is available to NMPF member cooperatives and associate members for $7.50 a copy, or $5 for orders of more than 10 copies. For nonmembers, the cost is $10 for single copies or $7.50 for bulk orders. An order form is available on the NMPF website.
All aspects of milk and dairy products production are covered, as well as producer, wholesale and retail milk and dairy product prices; federal milk marketing orders; sales and consumption data for milk and dairy products, and comparative information for U.S. dairy imports and exports. Specific tables include:
· National milk production data going back to 1925;
· Cow numbers, farms and herd size data going back to 1950;
· Milk production and prices, production-per-cow, cow numbers and dairy farms by state, with comparative data from the 1980s and 1990s;
· Class III, manufacturing grade and all-milk wholesale prices by year 965;
· Annual wholesale prices for butter, cheddar cheese, and nonfat dry milk;
· The ratio of feed prices to milk prices by month;
· The share of commercial sales by product—including milk, butter, cheese, frozen products and nonfat dry milk;
· Annual production and per-capital consumption of key cheese, butter and frozen products from 1975;
· Annual exports of milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and nonfat dry milk by region and country;
· A short glossary of dairy industry terms and useful conversions factors for milk and dairy products.
Congratulations to John Hollay who has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Government Relations at National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).
Hollay joined the organization in May 2012 as Director of Government Relations, and was promoted to Senior Director in the summer of 2012.
Hollay’s main focus has been on farm bill, immigration, and labor issues during his time with NMPF. Before joining NMPF last year, Hollay served as senior legislative assistant with Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney, with responsibility for issues pertaining to agriculture, energy, environment, and labor. He was also the lead congressional staffer on the re-establishment of the Dairy Farmer Caucus on Capitol Hill.
Throughout the summer, NMPF used the REAL Seal website and Facebook page to gather submissions for the naming contest. More than 110 individual suggestions were entered.
“We’re excited to use this character to help kids, parents, and dairy fans of all ages learn about real dairy products and foods made with real American dairy products, when they’re browsing the grocery store aisles and eating in restaurants,” said NMPF Chief Operating Officer Jim Mulhern. “Giving people the chance to vote for the name we’ll use is democracy in action.”
After a review process, the three most fitting candidates were selected. They are:
· Dairyus – Submitted by Kathryn in Clermont, IA (honorable mentions to Ed in Tipton, IA, and Joe in Washington, DC, for alternate spellings).
· Milkdrop – Submitted separately by Roger in Franklin, KY, and Cecelia in Amelia, VA.
· Roscow – submitted by Gavin in Fairfax, VA (honorable mention to Sara in East Syracuse, NY, for an alternate spelling).
Peterson, who is the Agricultural Committee Ranking member, said they would continue to work with the House on the issue and believes that the bill would have passed sooner if the Goodlatte-Scott dairy amendment had been removed.
“Nevertheless, today’s action means that there is still hope that a new farm bill can be passed in 2013,” continued Kozak. “Without any progress toward a Senate-House conference committee, we were looking at yet another one-year extension of current programs, which is unacceptable. Today’s vote means that agricultural leaders now can work on improving the House bill and developing better dairy policy than what exists now, and what is contained in this House bill.”
Peterson is optimistic that a five-year farm bill can still be passed that is more favorable to the dairy industry, but the first step is for the House-Senate conference committee to draft a compromised version of the bill. Should one not be passed by both the Senate and the House, the current Farm Bill is set to expire on September 30, 2013.
The FARM Program was created four years ago to establish a national, voluntary dairy animal care program to bring consistency and uniformity to the practices used on America’s dairy farms. The original reference manual was used to guide animal care practices on farms that have enrolled in the program since 2009; this new manual will now be provided to those both currently enrolled, and those who will become part of the program going forward.
“This new manual reflects the continuous improvement process that is a hallmark of the FARM program,” said Jim Mulhern, Chief Operating Officer of NMPF. “It contains important revisions from the first manual, and it reflects both evolving management practices on the farm, as well as expectations for animal care from the entire dairy value chain.”
A variety of industry stakeholders provided input into the revision process, Mulhern said, and the end result includes findings from the third-party verification process that began in 2011. Among the improvements in the new manual is the overall checklist used to evaluate farms has been streamlined from 77 questions to 48, “simplifying the process for farmers, and more effectively capturing the pertinent information that animal care experts believe is relevant to proper dairy animal care,” Mulhern said.
In addition to the streamlined on-farm evaluation process, the new manual addresses key areas of change in the areas of medical procedures, animal observations and housing.
Posted: June 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
Despite concerns by some members about the agricultural provisions, the full Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform legislation on Thursday by a vote of 68-32.
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) took to the floor Wednesday evening to detail some of his concerns about the farm worker provisions in the bill and amendments that he wanted to see added.
The Georgia senator’s main issues center around requirements under the “Blue Card” program the new legislation would set up that he feels could add too many farm workers and ultimately make it easier for them to move out of agriculture and into other areas of employment.
Chambliss spent time detailing the amendments he would like to offer that would fix some of the concerns he has and said he was disappointed they would not be considered. “The ag portion of this bill is a critical piece of the legislation and I’m afraid it’s been overshadowed by some of the other issues,” he said. “Ultimately, I want what’s best for American agriculture.”
Agricultural groups hailed passage of the Senate bill within minutes of the final vote.
“We’ve known for years that the status quo employment situation in dairy farming is not sustainable. Today, the Senate moved decisively past that admission, and voted to change our labor and immigration laws for the better,” said National Milk Producers Federation president and CEO Jerry Kozak “Rather than tinker with what wasn’t working, this new immigration measure builds something new and much better.”
“The key is to demonstrate to a majority of the House that action is needed. The bill the House will consider is going to be different than this Senate bill, but the critical thing is that a bill addressing the needs of agriculture must be passed by the House. Inaction is not an option,” Kozak said.
Speaker of the House John Boehner said in a press conference today, “The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes. We’re going to do our own bill, through regular order.” (Audio and video below) Boehner on Immigration Reform
The National Milk Producers Federation is getting REAL serious about the REAL Seal. Well, maybe not so much serious as having some fun. This is the cartoon character that has been created to help “revitalize and build awareness of the dairy industry’s iconic REAL® Seal.” There is already a “cartoon” with the character on YouTube. What would you name it?
“The REAL® Seal has been around for nearly 40 years,” said Jim Mulhern, Chief Operating Officer of NMPF. “This character is intended to bring the importance of looking for REAL® dairy products and foods made with REAL® dairy products to life.”
The first order of business will be naming the character, according to Mulhern, who said a name will be chosen through an on-line challenge.
“We want kids to learn how to differentiate real dairy products and foods made with real American dairy products from the vegetable- and nut-based pretenders,” said Mulhern. “To highlight this important distinction, we are launching a campaign to name the character.”
Names may be submitted through the REAL® Seal website: www.realseal.com. All entries must be received by August 31, 2013. The top three names entered will be posted in September on the REAL® Seal Facebook page (www.facebook.com/realsealdairy) and subject to a vote. The name with the most votes will be declared the winner.
Posted: June 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) announced today that Chief Operating Officer Jim Mulhern will take over as President & Chief Executive Officer on January 1, 2014. Mulhern has been appointed by the NMPF Board of Directors to fill the position held by Jerry Kozak since 1997. Earlier this year, Kozak had informed the Board of his desire to retire at the end of this year.
“We are very excited to have such a knowledgeable and capable leader at the head of our team in the coming years. The importance of experience cannot be underestimated in a complex industry like ours,” said NMPF Chairman Randy Mooney, a dairy producer from Rogersville, MO.
Mulhern joined NMPF in January 2013, and since that time has managed the communications, government relations, and membership functions of the organization. His appointment as COO marked a return to NMPF as he had directed the organization’s government relations program earlier in his career.
“I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to lead a membership organization that has meant so much to me throughout my career. I look forward to building further upon the relationships and successes of the past, but with a clear focus on addressing the challenges to dairy farming’s future,” said Mulhern.
In celebration of June Dairy Month, efforts by the National Milk Producers Federation to revitalize the REAL® Seal are taking a big leap forward this month. A new campaign is being launched that allows consumers to learn more about the benefits of real, American-made dairy products and foods made with them, using a new Facebook page, blogger outreach and digital advertising.
The REAL Seal Facebook page creates a new voice and visual feel to engage target audiences, especially moms and heads of households, encouraging them to buy dairy products and foods containing dairy products. The page’s content includes interactive updates, multimedia presentations, contests, polls, and quizzes. One of the elements of the launch later in the month will be a “Name the Character” contest for a new, animated REAL Seal cartoon character. It can be viewed on the REAL Seal website.
Reaching out to bloggers writing about the mom/parenting, food/cooking, health/wellness, and lifestyle topic areas will generate online conversation and awareness surrounding the REAL® Seal campaign and lead consumers to official REAL Seal web pages. In July, a special Buyer’s Guide section will be added to the REAL Seal website, where consumers will be able to go to find dairy products and foods made with dairy products that are using the REAL Seal, as well as restaurants that serve only REAL dairy products. REAL Seal users will have the option of providing links to their company’s website as well.
Posted: May 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
The House Agriculture Committee came out in support of the Dairy Security Act (DSA) on Wednesday, voting to reject an amendment by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and David Scott (D-GA) to remove the supply management mechanism of the act.
“Supply management is antithetical to the future growth of the dairy industry,” Goodlatte and Scott said in a statement expressing their disappointment in the vote. “A supply control program that will directly intervene in markets and increase milk prices will ultimately hurt dairy producers and consumers as well as dairy food manufacturers by stifling industry growth. This program is contrary to the reforms already in the Farm Bill.”
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) was pleased with the outcome. “The House committee has now twice rejected the Goodlatte-Scott effort to undermine establishment of a workable national dairy policy,” said NMPF president and CEO Jerry KozaK. “As the farm bill moves to the House floor, we hope that the committee’s decision today will be the final word on the matter. It is time for dairy processors to end their campaign of divisiveness, and assist us in moving the farm bill toward completion.”
The committee worked for over five hours straight on the bill before taking a break, but will reconvene this evening to finish. By contrast, the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday completed its work in less than four hours. House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) met with farm broadcasters just shortly before his committee began the markup saying he expected it to be a long day but maybe not quite as long as last year’s 15 hour session. “But I would note that we had approximately 100 amendments a year ago, as of this morning we have approximately 100 amendments this time,” he said.
Lucas says the bill will go to the House floor this year “a dramatic improvement over a year ago” but he does expect it to be a struggle. “Whatever we do in the committee, many of the battles – whether it is over dairy, or sugar, or the size of the nutrition reforms, will be fought out again on the floor of the United States House,” he said. “But it’s a struggle we’re prepared to engage in and we’re prepared to move forward on.”
Posted: May 14, 2013 at 6:51 am
By Cindy Zimmerman
The Senate Agriculture Committee meets this morning to consider the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 and the House ag committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow morning to consider their version of a farm bill. Drafts from both committees were released last week.
Chris Galen with the National Milk Producers Federation says both drafts contain the Dairy Security Act and he expects the Senate to pass this proposal which they support, but on the House side there is another proposal being offered which they oppose. “Basically it would turn farmers into takers of government welfare because it would not allow the marketplace to correct quick enough,” he said. “They would be getting margin insurance subsidized by the government but not getting the necessary price signals that would either restore the market price for milk or reduce the cost to the taxpayer of the program.” That alternative is being proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
Galen says Congress appears to be serious about getting a farm bill passed this year. “I don’t think anyone wants a repeat of 2012,” he said. “The good news is that we’ve heard rumors that not only is the Senate Ag committee going to work on the farm bill this week, but they may actually vote on it on the Senate floor this week.” The House was a hold out last week, of course, but Galen hopes they will schedule time for it this year. “I think the stars and planets will align and that they will either be desperate enough or sick enough to get us a new farm bill this year.”
A coalition of more than 50 state and national dairy organizations have sent a letter to members of the House Agriculture Committee urging them to include the Dairy Security Act in the farm bill when they begin mark up next week. The letter states the need for “a financially-sound risk management program to help farmers better manage margin volatility.”
The groups further ask the Committee members to reject the Dairy Freedom Act put forth by Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and David Scott (D-GA) “because it would weaken the safety net for farmers in order to benefit dairy processors.” The Dairy Freedom Act does not contain the market stabilization component the DSA does. The groups contend the supply management provision would send a clear signal to farmers when production needs to be reduced resulting in a faster rebound in low-market situations.
Supporters of the Dairy Security Act argue the production controls would be detrimental to the dairy industry in that producers and processors would be reluctant to grow and expand for fear they may be called upon to cut milk output at some point. They also say that would make us an unreliable supplier on the world market.
The Senate Ag Committee is scheduled to mark up their farm bill on Tuesday but there are no indications the alternative Dairy Freedom Act will be introduced in that committee.
During a two-hour long session at the National Dairy Producers Conference, which reviewed the prospects of the Farm Bill in general – and the outlook for the Dairy Security Act (DSA) in particular – panelists agreed that the risk management approach embodied in the Dairy Security Act provides a cost-effective safety net for farmers.
University of Minnesota economist Marin Bozic, who participated in the discussion in Indianapolis, reported that farmers who enroll in the DSA will find that the program “works as catastrophic risk insurance. It reduces extreme margin risk, as it pays you the most when you need it the most.”
He said that farmers will likely view the risk of not enrolling in the program as far greater than being part of it. Regarding concerns that milk production growth could be restricted by the DSA’s market stabilization component, Bozic told the crowd that producers using the three-month rolling base will experience milk production growth over the long term similar to if they were not part of the program.
Bozic is one of a group of Midwestern university professors who have performed a detailed analysis of how the DSA program performs for farms of various sizes, under various economic conditions. The analytical tool he reviewed has been developed to help farmers determine how best to participate in the DSA, once it becomes law.
One of the other academics, John Newton, described how an independent economic model of DSA can serve as a tool for farmers to help them make decisions regarding participation on the proposed DSA. Newton, an Ohio State University doctoral candidate, said that DSA works for farmers, whether small or large, and regardless of whether the model is merely a yearly analysis or a cumulative revenue report over a period of years.
Monday’s findings by the agricultural economists about the effectiveness of the DSA will bolster the case on Capitol Hill that the measure needs to be part of the next farm bill, according to NMPF’s Chief Executive.
“We’ve spent the past three years working within the industry, and with members of Congress, developing a program that meets the needs of America’s dairy farmers in the 21st century,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF, which organized the National Dairy Producers Conference. “The evidence continues to demonstrate that the DSA is both good policy, and good politics.”
Kozak said that competing approaches to the DSA, either featuring no market stabilization element, or exempting all but the largest farms from market stabilization, are both overly costly, and politically unacceptable.
“Any proposal featuring margin insurance alone, such as the Goodlatte-Scott amendment, which severely limits the amount of milk that farmers can insure, will hamper the growth of their operations. Beyond that, it’s a prescription for lower milk prices and higher government costs, which will scuttle the whole economic basis for margin insurance in the future,” he said.
By the same token, “any approach that attempts to drive a wedge between farmers of differing sizes by exempting large numbers of farmers from the market stabilization program is divisive and wrong. In addition, it would dramatically increase the cost of the overall farm bill. The industry has moved beyond the regional divisiveness of past dairy policies and Congress needs to do so as well,” he said.
The National Dairy FARM Program (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) has reached 70-percent participation.
With the recent addition of several major cooperatives in the National Dairy FARM Program, more than two-thirds of the nation’s cows will be covered by the industry’s animal well-being effort, according to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).
NMPF started the FARM program three years ago to provide a consistent, national, verifiable means of showing consumers and the food value chain how dairy products are produced. The number of cooperatives and processors subscribing to the program has continued to grow, and now includes farms producing 70% of America’s milk supply.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Board of Directors reaffirmed the organization’s support for a new farm bill, containing a better safety net for dairy farmers, at the Federation’s spring meeting.
With the Senate Agriculture Committee expected to begin work on a new farm bill next month, NMPF’s leadership said this week that a new, voluntary dairy program known as the Dairy Security Act (DSA), which combines margin insurance with market stabilization, remains critical to the future of the industry.
Randy Mooney, Chairman of NMPF, and a dairy farmer from Rogersville, Missouri said that NMPF members were encouraged by a report delivered to them Monday from Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, who reaffirmed his support for the DSA and indicated that the House agriculture panel also will begin work on a farm bill this spring.
In another development Tuesday affecting NMPF and its members, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service announced that it will suspend the monthly milk production report for the remainder of fiscal year 2013, as a result of sequestration-reduced funding.
The monthly milk production report for February’s milk output will come out next Tuesday, but the next six reports for April through September will be suspended, as will the Milk Production, Disposition and Income (Milk PDI) reports previously scheduled for release next month.
NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak said that, “Eliminating the USDA’s monthly milk production report through September will detrimentally affect how decisions are made about the marketing of milk, starting at, but not ending with, the farm level.”
He noted that among the other NASS report suspensions, “Dairy is the only major commodity that will be substantially affected. The July Cattle report consists of a mid-year update of the January Cattle report, which is obviously not affected by the current fiscal year suspension, and other NASS reports will continue to report non-dairy cattle inventory information.”
“This decision is a concern to NMPF as well as to the entire dairy industry, and we will need to have further discussions with USDA about why an extremely important informational tool involving a major commodity is being affected this way.”
Posted: January 20, 2013 at 10:42 am
By News Editor
National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has announced a reorganized to its staff to better meet the challenges that are sure to come in the year ahead and promoted several staff members who will facilitate these efforts.
As first announced in December, Jim Mulhern will start next week as NMPF’s Chief Operating Officer, a new position in the organization that will bolster NMPF’s team of professionals working on issues as diverse as farm policy, labor availability, trade expansion, environmental regulation, animal care, and milk pricing. Mulhern will report to President and CEO Jerry Kozak and have direct oversight of government relations, membership, and communications activities.
In order to better coordinate the often parallel efforts of the government relations and regulatory teams, those staff members have been combined into one department that will be managed by Senior Vice President of Government Relations Dana Brooks, who will in turn report to Mulhern. Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Jamie Jonker and regulatory staff members Beth Briczinski and Betsy Flores, who were promoted to Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs, and Senior Director of Animal Health and Welfare, respectively, will now report to Brooks.
Anuja Miner was promoted to Vice President of Membership Services and will report directly to Mulhern. Gail Mobley was made Senior Director of Finance and Administration and will continue to report to Tom Balmer, Executive Vice President.
Posted: January 3, 2013 at 10:37 am
By Cindy Zimmerman
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) says “the status quo is not an acceptable outcome, either for farmers or taxpayers” and they will continue to push the 113th Congress for a five-year farm bill that includes the Dairy Security Act.
NMPF Senior VP of Communications Chris Galen says the dairy security act that was part of the farm bill legislation passed by the senate last year and included in the house bill would not only help the dairy industry but also reduce spending. “They had to find some offsets to pay for the extension of the dairy programs that were included in the fiscal cliff package,” said Galen, who notes that overall adoption of a new farm bill would save $20-30 billion.
Galen says dairy producers are pleased with what the fiscal cliff agreement included for estate taxes from returning at punitively high levels in 2013. “They did do something for the dairy industry and for the farm community on that issue,” he said. The package includes a 40% rate on estates valued at more than $5 million, up from the previous 35% rate, but far less than the 55% top rate on $1 million estates that was scheduled to become permanent.
I talked with Galen about the concerns of NMPF and how they intend to address them in the 113th Congress. Interview with Chris Galen
Officials with the Dairy Business Association (DBA) in Wisconsin say they are “extremely pleased” with the extension because they are opposed to the program that was included in the Senate version of the farm bill passed last year.
“The supply management program was rejected because legislators in Congress realized that if it were passed; this communism style of dairy policy would intrude on dairy markets by controlling the milk supply and artificially creating demand for dairy products at higher prices. Supply management programs have been tried before, been proven to be a mistake and a costly failure. We can’t continue to make the same mistakes,” said Laurie Fischer, Executive Director of the Dairy Business Association. “The removal of the Dairy Security Act from the farm bill extension is a victory for the Nation’s dairy producers.”
DBA worked persistently to educate members of Congress on the harmful impacts limiting milk production advocating for the consideration a milk insurance program instead. DBA had advocated for reforming the dairy safety net programs, but DBA believed the Dairy Security Act would have taken our Nation’s dairy industry in the wrong direction.
“Limiting milk production and paying producers to not produce milk just doesn’t make sense,” added Jerry Meissner, DBA’s President. “In spite of some national dairy groups advising legislators that all farmers were in favor of supply management, it simply is not the truth. Farmers from across the nation are not in favor of this provision.”