Tag Archives: Dairy

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) thanked members of Congress, especially the bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, for crafting a farm bill that includes much-needed reforms to help American dairy farmers. The 2018 Farm Bill reached a key milestone on Monday with the release of a long-awaited conference report.

“Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle should be commended for reaching a deal that will benefit U.S. agriculture and ensure safe, affordable food for Americans and the world,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “A new law is especially important for dairy, a sector struggling with low prices and disrupted exports. We thank lawmakers for addressing our concerns with measures that will help producers in need.”

NMPF called on the full Congress to pass the bill quickly while thanking its four principal negotiators: Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), as well as House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN).  While the bill includes a vast array of farm policy changes, improvements benefiting dairy include:

  • Higher coverage levels in a renamed Margin Protection Program (MPP) that address deficiencies in the current program’s feed-cost formula
  • Greater flexibility to allow producers of all sizes to access Tier 1 premium rates
  • Expanded access to additional risk management tools, allowing producers to participate in both MPP and the Livestock Gross Margin insurance program
  • Continued support for land and water conservation programs that assist dairy producers
  • Full funding for Farm Bill trade promotion programs, a crucial concern in an era of markets lost to tariffs
  • Nutrition provisions intended to enhance consumption of fluid milk

The law’s provisions build on improvements enacted in the Bipartisan Budget Act earlier this year, including dairy safety net reforms spearheaded by Stabenow and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), as well as risk management provisions championed by Conaway and Peterson.

America’s dairy farmers are urging President Trump to work on opening up the Japanese market as soon as possible. Officials are getting ready to begin trade talks between the two countries next month.

The National Milk Producers Federation was one of four groups that gave testimony at the U.S. International Trade Commission hearing on the potential trade pact. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will also hold a hearing on  Monday about the possible agreement with Japan. U.S. dairy exports to Japan could grow by 450 percent if American farmers had full access to the country’s market.

It would also raise dairy farmers’ income by up to $12 billion over the next decade. However, Politico says there might be a problem with that idea. President Trump has already agreed not to press the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe to expand access to Japan’s ag markets when they agreed back in September to start talks aimed at establishing a bilateral agreement between the nations.

The U.S. dairy industry pushed President Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday to ensure increased access to the Japanese market, saying the United States lags behind other farming nations that have tariff-cutting agreements with Japan.

In a hearing on bilateral trade negotiations that Washington and Tokyo are set to start as early as in mid-January, a labor union representing American automobile manufacturing employees meanwhile urged the administration to maintain U.S. tariffs on Japanese cars, parts and trucks to curb increases in imports.

Speaking at the United States International Trade Commission hearing, Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president of trade policy at the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the National Milk Producers Federation, said upcoming talks for a bilateral trade agreement should achieve “a high level of market access” in Japan.

Castaneda said that in terms of access to the world’s third-largest economy, the United States is behind Australia — which already has a bilateral free trade agreement with Japan — as well as the 11 members of a Pacific FTA and the European Union, a 28-nation bloc that has signed an FTA with Japan.

“America is already behind and we ask the administration to act soon,” he said.

In a written testimony, the council and federation effectively pushed Japan to reduce tariffs on dairy products beyond levels agreed to under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 11-nation FTA that will enter into force on Dec. 30, and the Japan-EU FTA.

The organizations urged the administration to use the trade talks with Japan to secure “a better outcome” than that contained in the CPTPP or in the Japan-EU FTA “for each tariff line.”

Japan and the European Union are speeding up domestic procedures for the early enforcement of their FTA.

“Japan’s market for imported dairy products is tightly restricted in most product areas,” the testimony said. “In addition to tariffs, Japan maintains a complex quota system for several of its dairy products which it uses to allocate its in-quota quantities according to designated uses.”

Josh Nassar, legislative director for the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America International Union — also known as the United Automobile Workers, or UAW — accused Japan of having a “closed market” for American automobiles.

The United States should maintain tariffs on Japanese cars, parts and trucks “until their market is truly open to actually see big increases in allowing imports,” he said.

While acknowledging Japan imposes no tariffs on foreign cars, Nassar argued the Japanese government has set up “a web of closed systems” such as dealerships that make it difficult for foreign automakers to have successful sales in Japan.

Nassar also claimed Japan has not been hesitant about manipulating its currency to give its exports an unfair trade advantage.

Aside from Thursday’s hearing, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is scheduled to hold a separate hearing for industries on Monday regarding bilateral trade agreement talks with Japan.

DENVER/PRNewswire/ — Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN announced the forthcoming availability of Field to Market’s sustainability metrics within the new Truterra™ Insights Engine from Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN in mid-December. Land O’Lakes is the first partner that will integrate fully with the latest version of Field to Market’s Fieldprint Platform released this month.

“We are proud to partner with Land O’Lakes to give farmers even greater choice in assessing the sustainability performance of their management practices and respond to growing interest across the value chain in where and how commodity crops are grown,” said Rod Snyder, president of Field to Market. “This collaboration integrates Field to Market’s sustainability insights alongside the stewardship and agronomic analysis for which Land O’Lakes WinField United ag-retailer owners are known – helping farmers make decisions that benefit the air, soil, water and their business.”

“The addition of Fieldprint Platform sustainability metrics to the Truterra Insights Engine is a key asset supporting the agricultural and food supply chain to utilize Truterra for data-driven insights,” said Matt Carstens, senior vice president of Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN. “This work enhances the ability for farmers and ag retailers to bolster their stewardship reporting across many commodities, crops and commitments – and it cements the Truterra Insights Engine as a go-to, farm-to-fork solution for food companies who turn to the Fieldprint Platform to track sustainability results achieved in the field.”

Available to both commodity producers and their trusted advisors across the Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN network in mid-December, the common measurement framework offered by Field to Market will offer even greater depth to the Truterra Insights Engine’s ability to assist farmers in documenting their stewardship and exploring opportunities for continuous improvement. By utilizing one of the industry’s most-accepted sustainability frameworks, the integration of Field to Market’s sustainability metrics provides commodity crop producers and the supply chain with a seamless solution for assessing sustainability performance as well as documenting and demonstrating stewardship at the field and landscape level.

With today’s announcement, the Fieldprint® Application Programming Interface (API) will connect eight sustainability metrics and associated algorithms from Field to Market’s Fieldprint Platform directly to the Truterra Insights Engine, providing farmers with an enhanced tool to assess their management practices against regional, state and national benchmarks for key sustainability indicators.

Land O’Lakes and Field to Market have a history of working closely together to advance on-farm sustainability. Land O’Lakes is a longstanding member of the Alliance. The farmer-owned cooperative serves on both its Board of Directors and Standing Committees.

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirms that a Wisconsin dairy herd in Dane County has tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB). Meat inspectors identified a carcass during a routine slaughter inspection and sent a sample to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory for testing. Through animal identification records, the carcass was traced back to a herd in Dane County that DATCP immediately quarantined. A quarantine prevents any animals from moving on or off of the farm.

“We are working closely with the herd owner, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Health Services, area veterinarians, industry partners, and other herd owners. We are taking aggressive measures to control and prevent the spread of this disease,” said Dr. Darlene Konkle, DATCP’s acting State Veterinarian. “Our staff and partners train for these types of responses and are taking the necessary steps to protect animal and human health.”

Pasteurized milk continues to be safe to consume. The pasteurization process, which destroys disease-causing organisms in milk by rapidly heating and then cooling the milk, eliminates the disease from milk and milk products. Bovine TB is most commonly spread to humans through consuming unpasteurized milk or milk products from infected animals, and close contact with infected animals or people. Also, infected people can be a source of infection to animals. More information about human TB is on the Centers for Disease Control website.

Food safety laws prevent meat from infected animals from entering the food chain. State and federal inspectors at slaughter plants evaluate live animals and animal products for signs or symptoms of disease and remove any from entering food production.

Bovine TB is a respiratory disease of cattle that does not spread easily. It is a chronic, slowly progressive disease meaning it can take months to years to worsen, grow, or spread. Infected animals may pass the infection to other animals even if they appear healthy. Animals often do not show signs until the infection has reached an advanced stage. The U.S. has nearly eliminated bovine TB due to the National Tuberculosis Eradication Program. Wisconsin has been certified as TB-free since 1980. With a thorough investigation and containment of an outbreak Wisconsin will maintain its TB-free status with USDA.

More information about bovine TB is available on DATCP’s website.

Dairy farms with more than 1,000 cows now comprise nearly 50 percent of the dairy industry, up from only 29 percent the decade prior, showing consolidation of dairy operations has increased significantly. These larger dairy operations have taken advantage of economies of scale to survive the price cycles the dairy industry has come to know. Now, the dominance of these larger dairies has led to a structural shift, which may mute the price cycles in the years ahead and lead to longer periods of lower prices, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

Since the mid-1990s, the dairy industry has operated in fairly predictable three-year price cycles. Dairy producers generally expanded their operations after a profitable year during this cycle, while some struggling operations were sold or merged during the low points in the cycle. Beginning in 2015, a prolonged period of low milk prices has strained most small-scale dairy farms without the relief of the expected peak year of price recovery.

“The new reality is a milk supply that is less responsive to short-term price shocks since that supply is coming mostly from large operations that can withstand lower prices,” said Ben Laine, senior dairy economist with CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “Smaller dairy operations are finding it nearly impossible to compete in the commodity milk market against their larger counterparts, so they are forced to either leave the business or find a higher value niche market for their milk.”

The consolidation effect is self-perpetuating, according to Laine. As consolidation happens, larger dairies are best positioned to keep producing milk, despite lower prices, which keeps prices low and puts pressure on the smaller dairies.

This new reality in the industry comes with some new risks, according to Laine. “The largest risk with a densely concentrated milk supply is disease or natural disaster,” said Laine. “A disease outbreak or natural disaster could quickly impact a much larger share of dairy production when it is concentrated in fewer farms.”

Likewise, the new structure of the dairy industry is not completely negative for smaller dairies. While large operations can produce a lot of milk for lower costs, smaller dairies can adapt much more quickly, said Laine.

“Smaller dairies can position themselves to adapt to new market realities,” said Laine. “They tend to be much closer to consumers and can more quickly respond to market opportunities like organic, grass-fed, local and other options marketed as premium dairy products.”