The USDA has finished the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) hearing and is now considering more than 12,000 pages of testimony as it formulates its plan for FMMO modernization. The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) continues to do what it can to ensure that the proposal best reflects the interest of dairy farmers and their cooperatives.
“We feel that we made, we presented a very good hearing record,” Vice President for Economic Policy and Market Research, Dr. Peter Vitaliano, said on the MMPF’s Dairy Defined podcast. “Half the room was full of basically USDA-related people. We watched them closely for their body language and other things, although we’re an ex parte, as you know. Communications between USDA and the industry are very limited just to procedural things.”
Still, he said he’s ‘comfortable’ that the members will get a decision that they’re able to ‘live with’, but nobody is going to get everything they want.
“That’s pretty clear. USDA is going to give … each of the major parties a little something. The final result will be a market improvement over what we have now. Federal order pricing formulas, which is the only thing this whole hearing was about, have basically maintained, by and large a fixed structure of the dairy industry and over the 25 years or so that those formulas have been in effect the industry has changed considerably,” he said. “The formulas are now increasingly out of step with what the industry looks like.” He said the NMPF proposals are to increase the formula to match where the industry is now and where it will be in the future. He said successful modernization must respect the entire industry and work for farmers.
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National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.