September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Seamless transition promised between MILC, MPP programs

By Don Wick- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Enrollment for the dairy industry's new Margin Protection Program is expected to begin late this summer, likely by the beginning of September. When will this insurance coverage begin? "We're required by law to have this operational and implemented in the fall of this year," said Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, "In the meantime, we have the various programs that were in place before the development of this new program, such as MILC." In our interview, Vilsack went on to say there will not be a gap in protection for dairy farmers. "There won't be a situation where MILC goes out of the play and the new system doesn't come into play; we're not going to create a gap. It should be seamless and folks shouldn't worry about that."

NMPF board gets an update on Farm Bill implementation
During the National Milk Producers Federation board meeting earlier this month, a senior advisor to Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, Karla Thieman, offered an update on farm bill implementation. Thieman indicated USDA is on target with plans to release rules for the Margin Protection Program by the end of summer. NMPF is developing an online calculator that will help dairy farmers estimate future margins, which will enhance the MPP coverage decision-making process. This tool will be made available when the final program details are released.

National dairy FARM program reviewed
The National Milk Producers Federation board has reviewed two measures under consideration for the FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) program. One policy resolution would require all FARM program participant companies conduct second party audits on their direct-ship farms. All farms would also be included in the pool for third party verification. The second resolution addresses the willful mistreatment of animals. It creates a protocol for program participants to regain FARM status after an alleged violation. These two policy initiatives will come up for a NMPF board vote in October.

Milk output edges higher
Compared to one year ago, May milk production in the 23 major dairy states was up 1.5 percent. Per-cow milk production was at all-time record high for the month. Year-over-year, Wisconsin milk production was unchanged. In Minnesota, milk output declined by just a fraction. South Dakota milk production increased nearly 6 percent. In Iowa, May milk production was up 1.2 percent.

Supply/demand report maintains strength in milk price forecast
According to the latest Supply/Demand Report, USDA left the milk production forecasts for 2014 and 2015 unchanged. The Agriculture Department is projecting an increase in dairy exports, primarily for U.S. cheese. Domestic cheese and butter prices for 2014 are expected to rise. The nonfat dry milk price forecast was lowered and the whey price was left unchanged. The report said the strength in the butter price is expected to carry into 2015. For 2015, the forecast for cheese, NDM and whey prices was left unchanged. The Class III milk price forecast was raised for 2014 and 2015.

A sustainable future
According to the new U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report, the dairy industry is making continual improvement in its social, environmental and economic performance. The report, which was published by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, identified a gradual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy industry. The report highlights numerous advancements in sustainability and efforts to communicate those achievements.

House subcommittee reviews waters of the U.S. proposal
House Transportation subcommittee took testimony on proposed changes to the Clean Water Act, expanding EPA's authority over the waters of the United States. EPA deputy administrator, Bob Perciasepe, voiced concern over misinformation about the proposed rule. "The rule does not apply to lands, whole flood plains, backyards, wet spots or puddles. It would reduce Clean Water Act jurisdiction over ditches compared to the previous 2008 guidance. The rule will maintain all existing Clean Water Act exemptions and exclusions. The agency has also identified agricultural conservation practices conducted in waters that do not require a 404 permit." Arkansas Congressman, Rick Crawford, wasn't buying it. "I think what's going on is an effort to create such ambiguity that you're given ultimate regulatory authority on a whim. There's really no recourse for folks affected. The fining that's going to come through on farmers and the cash flow it's going to impact. There's not been an economic analysis to address that."

AFBF asks Congress to intervene on EPA jurisdiction proposal
American Farm Bureau Federation President, Bob Stallman, represented agriculture in testimony before a House Transportation subcommittee, saying a proposed new definition for 'waters of the U.S.' is a sticking point. "EPA said the rule does not cover ditches. The proposed rule would categorically regulate all so-called tributaries that ever carry any amount of water that eventually flows to a navigable water. That's a ditch in my world." Stallman said this proposed rule is the broadest expansion of regulatory control over land use ever attempted by a regulatory agency. Stallman urged Congress to intervene.

FDA further clarifies position for cheesemakers
For the second time, the Food and Drug Administration has clarified its position on aging and storage of cheese on wooden boards. Previously, the FDA suggested this practice was unsanitary and a violation of Good Manufacturing Practices regulations. In the update, the FDA said the previous statement, "may have appeared more definitive than it should have." The agency emphasized it would not ban the use of wood shelving in artisanal cheese.

Extension from hours-of-service rule granted
The U.S. Department of Transportation has granted to truck drivers hauling livestock and poultry a one-year extension form an hours-of-service rule that took effect last July 1. The regulation requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute rest break after eight hours of service. For drivers transporting livestock and poultry, the hours of service included loading and unloading animals.

Carlin joins IDFA staff
The International Dairy Foods Association has selected J. David Carlin as its new senior vice president of legislative affairs. Carlin previously was a partner in Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and served as an assistant secretary of congressional relations at USDA. Carlin succeeds Jerry Slominski, who left IDFA earlier this year.

Jablonski leaves NFU, accepts post on Klobuchar staff
The National Farmers Union's director of communications has taken a new job as Minnesota Senator, Amy Klobuchar's, agriculture, energy, and environment legislative assistant. Brittany Jablonski worked for National Farmers Union for nearly six years. She fills the position vacated by Adam Durand, who moved from Senator Klobuchar's staff to Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson's staff.

Trivia challenge
In 1937 and 1938, a month-long dairy celebration was known as National Milk Month. That answers our last trivia question. For this edition, who is the president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation? We'll have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.[[In-content Ad]]


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