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AFBF Responds to Milk Marketing Reform Proposals

AFBF Staff

photo credit: Getty

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on USDA’s proposed amendments to all 11 Federal Milk Marketing Orders. AFBF has been calling for FMMO reform since 2021 and convened a successful first-of-its-kind industry-wide forum in 2022.

“We appreciate that USDA held this hearing, recognizing some of our concerns related to milk pricing. We are pleased with the intent to return the Class I skim milk price to the ‘higher-of’ formula as we called for. That said, we’re disappointed in changes that will benefit processors without regard for producers at a time when dairy farmers are struggling and many have gone out of business. USDA missed opportunities to improve and update price formulas.

“We also strongly believe make allowances should not be changed without a mandatory, audited survey of processors’ costs. Our dairy farmers deserve fairness in their milk checks and transparency in the formula, but the milk marketing order system can’t deliver that unless make allowances are based on accurate and unbiased data.

“We look forward to submitting our comments on the recommended proposals and encourage our members to do the same.”

Representatives from AFBF were present for nearly all of the 49 days of the hearing convened by USDA in August 2023. AFBF economists and members testified numerous times on the proposals AFBF submitted to the hearing, based on years of work by dairy farmer members, policy established through AFBF’s grassroots policy development process, and recommendations developed during the 2022 FMMO Forum at which AFBF brought farmers together with all segments of the industry.

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