Dairy stakeholders discuss Federal Milk Marketing Order issues
Dairy farmers and processors talked about milk pricing and the Federal Milk Marketing Orders during a weekend forum in Kansas City.
American Farm Bureau Federation organized the discussion, and Lucas Sjostrom with Minnesota Milk appreciated how the format encouraged discussion. He tells Brownfield, “American Farm Bureau did a great job at putting us at very diverse tables, and it was very interesting hearing what everyone’s top issue was, and how much we maybe didn’t care about the top issue for the person across the table.” Sjostrom says, “I think that really helped us think about what our problems are and how to solve them collectively.”
Farm Bureau’s Chief Economist is Roger Cryan. He tells Brownfield, “I learned that there was a lot more agreement in the industry on what we need to do on federal orders than I had anticipated.” He says, “I was very pleased at how much consensus there was on a lot of issues including changes to Class I, changes to pooling, and even in how we should address the price formulas if they are going to be changed.”
Each table had several discussions between presenters who wrote down their issues and priorities, which Farm Bureau will use to compile a report. The top priority for most of the working groups was to go back to the “higher of” formula for the class one milk mover, replacing the “average of” formula adopted in the 2018 Farm Bill. That is something Peter Vitaliano with the National Milk Producers Federation says their board is leaning towards supporting in their annual meeting later this month.
Discussion throughout the weekend favored keeping the federal orders and not eliminating them. Cryan says, “Federal orders are important to farmers, and we want to fix them.”