The American Farm Bureau Federation submitted multiple recommended reforms of Federal Milk Marketing Orders today to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and encouraged the department to move forward with a long-overdue hearing on federal milk pricing. The goal is to modernize milk pricing, protect dairy farmers from unfair treatment and ensure consumers have access to affordable fresh milk and dairy products.
The proposals were submitted in response to USDA’s tentative action plan to hold a hearing, which was released after AFBF joined the National Milk Producers Federation in urging the department to move forward with a hearing.
“The time is now for USDA to hold a hearing to modernize Federal Milk Marketing Orders. Our dairy farmers deserve transparency and a fair price for their milk,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s actions thus far, including calling for the dairy industry to come together and find solutions, which we were proud to do last October with our FMMO Forum in Kansas City. The discussions that took place at that Forum, along with policies formed during our grassroots policy development process, have been incorporated into our proposed reforms. We look forward to continuing these conversations with the Secretary and others in the dairy sector.”
In addition to eight new proposals created through AFBF’s grassroots policy, AFBF also submitted comments and refinements to the five reforms submitted by NMPF. AFBF’s proposals include adjusting yields and make allowances based on a mandatory and audited survey; creating and implementing universal milk check transparency requirements, including clarification of the value of pooled milk; and eliminating advanced pricing of Class I milk and Class II skim milk, and their components.
For the full text of AFBF’s suggested reforms and an explanation of each, click here. They are the result of over three years of work by AFBF farmer members, which culminated in the FMMO Forum convened by AFBF in October. At the Forum, representatives from NMPF, dairy cooperatives, processors, state dairy associations and dairy farmers from across the country met for two days to find common ground on modernizing FMMOs.
In addition to submitting modernization reforms, AFBF reiterated that USDA does have authority under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act to collect and audit – on a mandatory basis – the processing and yield information needed to inform make allowances.
USDA must decide by late July whether or not to move forward with hearing proceedings. A virtual pre-hearing information session will be held on June 16.
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