CAMP HILL, Pa. — The American Farm Bureau Federation was joined by representatives of the National Milk Producers Federation, dairy cooperatives, processors, state dairy associations and dairy farmers from across the country for a successful first-of-its-kind industry-wide Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) Forum.
The three-day event provided a platform for farmers’ voices to be heard while also answering the call from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to bring the dairy producer community together to discuss FMMO modernization. Discussions at the forum focused on Class price formulas and de-pooling, among other topics.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert served as a moderator of session 1 at the event. A Farm Bureau short of Ebert speaking about the event is available here.
The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Milk Producers Federation agreed on a joint statement regarding the need for FMMO improvements. A number of dairy organizations attending the event also supported the joint AFBF-NMPF statement and are listed below.
The AFBF-NMPF statement reads:
“We support the federal milk marketing order (FMMO) system as key to fair market-based farmer milk pricing and recognize the importance of periodically updating the program to reflect changes in the dynamic U.S. dairy industry. With the last major update to the FMMO system occurring in 2000, we believe it is time to consider improvements that better reflect today’s milk markets.
“In addition, the pandemic-related market disruptions of 2020 also highlighted the need to modernize the program so that it can better mitigate the impacts on producers of disruptions in milk pricing such as occurred then. At that time, a combination of federal order price formulas, temporary market imbalances, and sudden demand disruptions created disorderly marketing of milk, to the detriment of producers.
“We anticipate the prospect of a hearing conducted by USDA in 2023 that could address FMMO price formulas, including all four Classes, as well as the Class I price surface. An amended pricing system should improve price discovery, improve the clarity of the program, continue to support timely payments to producers, and reduce price incentives to de-pool milk.
“We are encouraged by the healthy discussion at this week’s Federal Milk Marketing Order Forum and look forward to continuing the discussion about promoting a healthy dairy industry through modernization of federal order pricing.”
Organizations participating in the event and endorsing the joint statement include:
American Dairy Coalition
National Farmers Organization
Georgia Milk Producers
Indiana Dairy Producers
Kentucky Dairy Development Council
Dairy Producers of New Mexico
Ohio Dairy Producers Association
Virginia State Dairymen’s Association
–Pennsylvania Farm Bureau