July 4, 2022

Happy Independence Day!  

With all the challenges we face today, it's very humbling to reflect upon the vision, tenacity, determination, and courage of our founding fathers at a time when they, too, faced enormous challenges, without the many conveniences we enjoy today. 

No electricity, no running water or indoor plumbing, no air conditioning, no cars, trains, planes, or phones were available, yet some very concerned and dedicated individuals came together, chose not to live under oppression, put freedom over self, and crafted one of the most profound and lasting documents of human history.  

They risked everything they had, because that was the price of freedom. Would we?

This issue of Georgia Milk E-News contains:  (Scroll for details)

  • MILK's Role in America's War for Independence
  • Summaries: June 22 House Ag Hearing: Review of Dairy Provisions
  • FMMO Proposals: Edge Cooperative Principles & Strategies
  • FMMO Reform & Factors: Definition (?), Goals, History, New AMS Handbook, Proposed Fixes
  • Southeast Value Added Dairy Conference / Early Registration by July 5th
  • July is Ice Cream Month! Scoop Accordingly!
  • Georgia Dairy Youth Calendar - Photo Contest


Milk, Freedom, Founding of America

''How Milk Helped America Win Its War for Independence!,''  by The Dairy Guy, at Dairy Moos blog. An interesting and fun look at the role of milk and cows in strengthening the American troops for battles and endurance. This thought-provoking read includes some 'supply chain' discussion too!


Follow-up Summaries of June 22 House Ag Hearing: Review of Dairy Provisions

June 23, 2022: "Dairy Had Its Day in Congress," by Corey Geiger, for Hoard's Dairyman - focuses on the testimony and thoughts of Lolly Lesher, representing National Milk Producers. One suggestion: make Supplemental DMC and production history for additional years a part of the 2023 Farm Bill language

June 23, 2022: From DMC to FMMOs, from Price Movers to Make Allowances, by Sherry Bunting, Farmshine/AgMoos;  A thorough and broad-ranging summary of several speakers thoughts and interactions from the hearing


Edge Cooperative: Two Pronged Approach to Reform

June 27, 2022:  'Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative Unveils Milk Pricing Reform Priorities,' posted by Jamie Mara, Director of Strategic Communications, Edge Cooperative, at the co-op's blog. 

Edge is the nation's  3rd largest cooperative in terms of milk volume represented, and does business with 30 private processors. The group is active in matters of policy affecting dairy farms, and has a 'no bloc voting' principle.  (Another 'Top 100' Dairy Co-op list, published annually in the fall by the National Council of Farm Cooperatives, is based on revenue and assets.)

  • Proposals center on two key points and tracks: Flexibility, and Fairness
  • Tim Trotter, Edge CEO, says: ''Edge is intently focused on strengthening the relationship between farmers and processors in a way that increases transparency, fairness, and competition, and gives farmers a reasonable amount of price certainty.''
  • The group has been the center of a multistate task force, working on proposals for more than a year at this point
  • Mitch Davis, a Task Force member, states 'More regional flexibility in the federal orders would benefit everyone.'
  • Dr. Marin Bozic, instrumental in the development of Dairy risk-management insurance products, and whose influence will be felt on this next Farm Bill and FMMO reform, made this observation: 'The original purpose of FMMO regulations revolved around the orderly marketing of fluid milk, by generating revenue sharing across the remaining classes of milk.'' Bozic is also an advisory member of the Edge Board of Directors. 
  • With most of US Milk production now going into cheese, butter, and powder, Bozic is posing the question if future discussion needs to incorporate benefits moreso than pricing mechanisms.
  • Tim Trotter, Edge CEO, emphasizes the group is willing to engage with other groups and producers across the country 

June 28, 2022: 'Edge Proposes Two-Track Path Toward Dairy Reforms,' by Dave Natzke published at Progressive Dairy.  Highlights of Bozic's thoughts include: 

  • He notes that currently, 18.5% of US Milk production enters the market as beverage milk, and projects that to be only 14.5% within 10 years.
  • Declining fluid milk sales and and declining Class I utilization are a critical threat to the future of the FMMO system
  • Suggests that a wide overhaul to FMMOs may not be needed, but that provisions for incentives for milk to remain pooled for all classes would be more helpful



  • What does 'FMMO Reform' Even Mean?
  • What are our Goals for Reform?

One concern as the FMMO Reform' discussion advances is this: Unless there is a defined process, with a defined goal (or goals), then 'FMMO Reform' becomes as vague as the term 'sustainability.' Just as individual businesses define master goals and strategies, so must the collective dairy industry of the US.  

Each sector should acknowledge that as the 'master goals' evolve, they will likely not get everything they want, so master 'priorities' must be established as well, including impact on regional ag economies across the country.  This can be done given the announcements and statements being shared by various groups.  The frontline, grassroots dairy producer should be considered.

A producer / farm owner may think 'FMMO Reform' means ''policy framework which is most likely to keep my farm in business." A processor may think ''Standards which keeps milk prices reasonable and which will add the most to our bottom line.''  A hauler, a distributor, or any other stakeholder might define it any other way. Therefore a collective definition must be developed.

With farm exits from the dairy industry accelerating, we are at a crossroads where now, more than any other time in history, we should be as specific as possible about what FMMO reform actually should be. With 'Global Food Security,' supply chain disruptions, and 'milk deserts' beginning to evolve even in the United states and the Southeast, those front-burner issues must be incorporated into the thought process as the next Farm Bill and FMMO Reform are approached. 

HISTORY: A Directive from Congress on the 'how' -  Clauses on FMMO reform from the 1996 Farm Bill.

Note these points about language and time of implementation:
  • This section set the stage for a California order, which didn't become a reality until 2019 - 23 years later
  • The number of producers, market, and retail conditions were all very different at that time

HANDBOOK  (New!!): June 15, 2022:  Federal Milk Marketing Orders: An Overview (30 page booklet); a current publication of the Congressional Research Service, edited by Joel Greene, prepared for members and committees of Congress. This handbook should be useful in refreshing any knowledge of the operations of Federal Milk Market Orders.

June 15, 2022:  'Let's Talk Federal Order Fixes,"   a Hoard's DairyLivestream webinar, moderated by Corey Geiger. This particular panel featured a broad-ranging discussion of various factors to be considered in reform from an industry stakeholer, a procurement director for a large national grocery chain, and two respected Ag Economists. If you are already registered for Hoard's monthly Livestreams you can readily access the recording; if not, you can register, and watch this informative session at your leisure. Below are the panelists:

  • Roger Cryan, Chief Economist for AFBF
  • Mike Brown, Dairy Supply Chain Director, Kroger / IDFA Economic Policy Chair
  • Mark Stephenson, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Andy Novakovic, Cornell University

October: (Dates to be Determined)   FMMO Opinions Will Be Heard at Conference by Katelyn Allen, for Hoard's Dairy Intel. American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is planning to hold a conference, in the mid-part of the country, for farmers and industry stakeholders to discuss points which lead to building consensus, per the stated wishes of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The announcement was made by Robert Cryan, Chief Economist for AFBF, during a Hoard's Dairy livestream webinar. That webinar ibriefly summarized here.


FMMO: Additional Resources - Underlying Factors to Consider

A Key DocumentMeasures of Growth in Federal Orders (May 18, 2022) 

6-22-2022:  'Milk Marketings Though FMMOs are Falling and Here's Why,' by Dave Natzke, for Progressive Dairy.

An in-depth examination about current Federal Order status is penned by Dave Natzke, and industry veteran journalist who has seen many cycles of Federal Order thoughts come and go. Highlights from the article:

Key Point:  "If the Federal Milk Marketing Orders continue to represent an increasingly smaller percentage of national production, the industry is becoming deregulated without intending to and without a transition plan in place,” said Erick Metzger, general manager of National All-Jersey Inc.  
Producers Pooled Continue to Decline: At 23,292, pooled producer numbers in 2021 were down 1,614 (-6.5%) from 2020 and down nearly 6,200 (21%) from 2019

June 13, 2022:  Just 61 Percent of Milk Moved Through Federal Orders, by Corey Geiger for Hoard's Dairyman. An additional summary of the Measures of Growth in Federal Orders Publication, with charts and graphs.

Basic Reference Articles:  (all by Dave Natzke, Editor, Progressive Dairy)



Southeast Value-Added Dairy Conference July 13-14 in NC

$50 Early Registration Fee expires July 5th

The 2022 Southeast Value-Added Dairy Conference is set for July 13-14, 2022 in Raleigh, NC. The event will take place at the StateView Hotel and Conference Center.

The program is geared towards dairy farms who are operating, or who wish to operate, farmstead processing facilities on their own farms. Some Georgia operations have participated in previous conferences; this Conference should provide an excellent learning opportunity for any Georgia dairies who wish to take advantage of the newly passed Raw Dairy Act.

Sessions offered will include packaging innovations, cheese marketing trends, food safety and hazard audits, and more. A tour of the NCSU owling Cow Dairy, and another value-added local processor, is scheduled as part of the conference.

The Conference is a portion of the Southeast Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives, a subsection of the broader USDA Dairy Business Innovation Initiative, with regional programs in four areas of the US. The entire program is subsidized with USDA grants. 

To register, Click here.


July is Ice Cream Month!  A Bit of Trivia!

Do you know which President, and which Southern Senator is responsible?

Scoop Accordingly!

Julie Walker,  for Georgia Milk Producers 

GDYF Calendar Photo Contest

The Georgia Dairy Youth Foundation is planning a calendar, to be sold as a fundraiser.  For news and updates, please follow the GDYF Facebook page and Instagram posts. 

To submit photos, Link Here (a Google Link)

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