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Farm Bureau releases milk program recommendations

Proposed changes to the Federal Milk Marketing Order by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) could mean more democracy and a more equitable program for all dairy farmers.

The working group comprised of Farm Bureau members identified four priorities.

“All dairy farmers should have a voice and a vote on changes to milk pricing regulation, and that deals directly with the ability of co-ops to bloc vote,” John Newton, AFBF chief economist, said. “Farmers on the working group wanted to see improved risk sharing among farmers, cooperatives and their processors. The working group recommended improved price discovery for milk prices. And finally, some provisions to streamline and simplify the pricing and pooling provisions in the southeast U.S.”

Several years of low milk prices prompted the effort, according to Newton.

“The voting delegates in January asked us to convene this working group following several years of low milk prices and some struggles in the marketing chain for dairy products,” he said. “So, this working group was tasked to find a way to update and modernize these Federal Milk Marketing Orders so that dairy farmers and their co-ops and processors can be more successful in the future.”

Farm Bureau members will consider adding the recommendations to the AFBF policy book during the 2020 AFBF Annual Convention & Trade Show in Austin, Texas.

“Now we need to do what we do best and that’s engage our grassroots members across the country, and go through that grassroots policy development process, ultimately culminating at our business session in January,” Newton said. “We’ll have an opportunity to update Farm Bureau policy on federal orders.”

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