March 9, 2022
National Milk Producers Federation celebrated strong global demand for U.S. milk in a time of turmoil and asserted leadership in its efforts toward Federal Milk Marketing Order modernization in its two-day March Board of Directors meeting.
The first in-person board meeting held in Arlington, Va., since March 2020 provided an opportunity both to look back on dairy’s resilience and look forward to building a better future for dairy farmers, said board chairman Randy Mooney, a dairy farmer from Rogersville, Mo., in remarks to the board.
“We’re here today with a strong sense of gratitude” for consumer support of dairy and the ability of farmers to weather challenging times, Mooney said in remarks to the board on Tuesday. “The world needs our product.”
U.S. per capita dairy consumption is at its highest since 1960, and exports reached an all-time high in 2021. Record prices are forecast in 2022.
High on NMPF’s list of priorities for 2022 is leading discussions on updated the Federal Milk Marketing Order system, the bedrock of orderly milk markets in the U.S. As the largest U.S. organization representing dairy farmers, NMPF is taking a deliberate approach toward meaningful modernization, crafting consensus among all sizes and regions, said Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer of NMPF.
“We may take the rest of this year to get this all done and get it right,” Mulhern said. “If we can keep a spirit of collaboration going throughout the process, we're going to end up in a very good place. I'm confident that we'll have a national federal order hearing proposal that reflects the consensus of our membership and reflects the needs of dairy producers across the country.”
NMPF’s Economic Policy Committee since last fall has been conducting analysis and engaging with farmers on the FMMO system, created in the 1930s and last updated in 2000.
NMPF’s board also discussed the response of agriculture and dairy to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and potential resulting volatility in agricultural markets. Board members pledged to seeks ways to assist Ukrainian families and farmers as the fast-developing situation evolves. The board unanimously adopted a resolution calling on policymakers “to immediately take the steps necessary to facilitate increased domestic energy production of all forms” to avoid agricultural supply disruptions at a time of already high and rising input costs.
Other topics ranged from sustainability to supply chains during the meeting, which also featured remarks from Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, R-PA, ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee. Valerie Lavigne, a dairy farmer from Schaghticoke, NY, and a member of Agri-Mark, also spoke in her new role as chairwoman of NMPF’s Young Cooperators.
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