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Annual meeting delegates to review significant dairy policy recommendations

Members attending the Nov. 29-30 MFB state annual meeting delegate session will receive copies of recommend dairy policy amendments upon arrival, following signoff by the full MFB Policy Development Committee. Image credit: University of Wisconsin
Date Posted: November 17, 2022

Member delegates attending the upcoming Michigan Farm Bureau Annual Meeting will discuss several national dairy policy recommendations that are late additions (for good reason) to the 2022 resolutions agenda.

The proposed amendments – summarized later in the story – have a history worth sharing.

Ernie Birchmeier, MFB senior industry relations specialist and the organization’s dairy and livestock expert, explained how the proposed amendments represent nearly two years’ worth of work by county Farm Bureau members.

“In 2020, Michigan delegates recommended the AFBF Board of Directors convene a dairy pricing working group to explore simplification of the milk pricing system,” Birchmeier said. “The recommendation was later adopted at the 2021 AFBF annual meeting and ultimately led to the Farm Bureau Dairy Working Group report published in October 2021.”

“But our members wanted more,” he continued. “At the 2021 MFB annual meeting, delegates recommended a national forum be held to bring all segments of the dairy industry together to better understand the dairy pricing changes needed.”

That MFB recommended policy was ultimately approved at the national level by delegates at American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting, resulting in the first-ever Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) Forum in held in October of this year.

“None of this could have been accomplished without our members’ leadership, their relentless advocacy, and a sincere desire to improve the dairy industry in our state and nation,” Birchmeier said. “We have several county Farm Bureau members who have been extremely influential in these discussions and have represented our state’s dairy farmers well, drawing upon decades of knowledge and experience.” 

Following the FMMO Forum, MFB’s Dairy Advisory Committee convened to discuss and craft amendments to AFBF Policy #238 National Dairy Program. Their work was then approved by the MFB Board and passed on to the MFB Policy Development Committee for consideration.

National Dairy Program policy proposed amendments

Members attending the Nov. 29-30 state annual meeting delegate session will receive copies of the amendments upon arrival, following signoff by the full MFB Policy Development Committee.

Among the proposed changes:

  • An FMMO voting procedure that encourages cooperatives to communicate with members more clearly on proposed changes and their intent.
  • Asking for legislative changes to:
    1. Develop a process to ensure make-allowances are reviewed more frequently, directing USDA to conduct regular and timely audits of plant cost/expenses with mandatory participation by appropriate dairy processors.
    2. Update the dairy product manufacturing allowance contained in the USDA milk price formulas.
    3. Additional or different make-allowances that compensate for the costs incurred by co-ops and manufacturers for balancing the market.
  • Reviewing and updating the data used in USDA’s pricing survey so it better represents products currently made and regularly utilized within each class.
  • No longer including barrel cheese in the protein component price formula and include only blocks.
  • Extending the 30-day reporting limit to 45 days on forward priced sales on nonfat dry milk and dry whey to capture more export sales in the USDA product price reporting.
  • Deleting language supporting, “A change to bloc voting that would require cooperatives to give notice to members of their intended vote and the members’ right to opt out of that vote and vote independently and confidentially.”

Questions on the proposed dairy amendments can be directed to MFB Policy Development Committee members Stephanie Schafer and Kristi Keilen, or Ernie Birchmeier.

Ernie Birchmeier headshot

Ernie Birchmeier

Senior Industry Relations Specialist
517-679-5335 [email protected]