May 10, 2021 at 3:53 p.m.

TEFAP to replace Farmers to Families Food Box Program

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

    The Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program will replace the United States Department of Agriculture Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said TEFAP will be more efficient, and there were disparities in administrative costs with the old program. In response to the news, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said he was surprised, because the need is there. The USDA also said it will implement a Dairy Donation Program to facilitate the donation of dairy products to nonprofit organizations.

Lawmakers ask for the return of USDA’s food box program
    A group of 22 lawmakers is asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reconsider his decision to cancel the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. The program provided fresh produce, dairy and meat products during the pandemic. This coalition said it also supports American farmers and ranchers.

Federal orders emergency hearing sought
    The National Milk Producers Federation is seeking an emergency USDA hearing on federal milk marketing orders. The effort is designed to spread the risk fairly between dairy farmers and processors. The proposal would change the current fluid milk pricing formula by adding 74 cents per hundredweight to the monthly average price for Class III or Class IV milk. This rate would be reviewed every two years.

Class III Plus proposed
    Midwest dairy groups have delivered their own proposal for Federal Milk Marketing Order reform. The Minnesota Milk Producers Association, Edge Dairy Cooperative, Dairy Business Association and Nebraska State Dairy Association have put together the Class III Plus plan. This proposal ties the Class I skim milk price to the Class III skim milk plus the addition of a 36-cent adjuster.

Labeling bill introduced
    A bill has been reintroduced in the Senate to prevent plant-based products from being labeled as dairy foods. The Dairy Pride Act would force the Food and Drug Administration to enforce its existing standards. The National Milk Producers Federation said imitation dairy products, like almond or oat-based beverages, have led to consumer confusion.

Environment will be a part of trade discussions
    The Biden administration will use trade policy to enhance environmental protections worldwide. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai spoke at the Center for American Progress, saying the U.S. must be a leader in the issues of climate change and energy efficiency. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement does not acknowledge climate change but does include the most comprehensive environmental standards in any trade agreement. Tai pledged to strictly enforce the standards within the USMCA.
WOTUS debate includes a promise from EPA administrator
    EPA Administrator Michael Regan promises agriculture will be at the table when the Biden administration reviews the Waters of the U.S. rule. “I pledge to engage with our agricultural community; I pledge to work with USDA and Secretary Vilsack,” Regan said. “We are going to set up a structured stakeholder engagement where we actually sit and listen to those who are impacted by regulations and come to a conclusion on the best way to move forward.” Regan made his comments during an appearance before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

PPP reduces demand for traditional loans
    The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is reporting a drop in the number of farm operating loans during the first quarter. The total volume of non-real estate loans was down 10% from last year. The report said the Paycheck Protection Program likely displaced a portion of the typical demand for financing.

Discrimination lawsuit filed against COVID-19 assistance package
    There are two separate discrimination lawsuits that have been filed against USDA. Both lawsuits claim the agriculture department is discriminating against white farmers in its interpretation of a socially disadvantaged farmer. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller filed the first case in a class-action lawsuit. The other case was filed by five farmers, including Adam Faust, who is a dairy farmer from Chilton, Wisconsin. USDA’s debt forgiveness plan is offering 120% in relief from direct and guaranteed loans for socially disadvantaged farmers.

AG’s office settles manure spill cases
    Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul has reached a $242,000 settlement with K&D Manure Handling, its owner, Kevin Hintz, and Wild Rose Dairy. Wild Rose Dairy and K&D Manure Handling were accused of causing a manure spills in Vernon County in 2017 and 2019. There is another manure spill alleged in La Crosse County in 2019.
A dramatic increase in earnings for Land O’Lakes
    A positive farm economy is reflected in the Land O’Lakes first quarter financial report. The Minnesota-based cooperative had net earnings of $136 million, up from $37 million in 2020. The agriculture division was boosted by rising grain prices and strong performance by WinField United. Dairy foods earnings were helped by strong retail sales. Land O’Lakes also enjoyed sales growth in its livestock feed business.

State fair is a go
    The Wisconsin State Fair will be held in person this year with increased health and safety protocols. The Wisconsin State Fair Park Board made the announcement. The state fair will take place Aug. 5-15.

WFBF adds Sonnentag, Viney to staff
    The Wisconsin Farm Bureau has selected Cassie Sonnentag as its new director of media relations and outreach. Marian Viney is the WFBF public relations coordinator. Sonnentag previously worked as a regional reporter for Dairy Star. Viney was an editor for Agri-View.

Trivia challenge
    The average dairy cow produces 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime. That answers our last trivia question. For this week’s trivia, how many times does the average cow chew her cud per minute? We will have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.
    Don Wick is owner/broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Wick has been recognized as the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year and served as president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and five grandchildren, Aiden, Piper, Adrienne, Aurora and Sterling.


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