Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: MN
closeup of Holstein eyes
MARKET UPDATE: The meeting in Stearns County, Minn., will discuss milk marketing options that could provide improved price stabilization for dairy farmers.

Minnesota Farmers Union to host ‘Dairy Together’ April 16

Similar meetings are being held nationwide to discuss ways to stabilize the dairy market.

The Minnesota Farmers Union is joining farm organizations across the country in presenting proposals that could slow the loss of family dairy farms.

Several states are hosting sessions called “Dairy Together” to offer ideas to dairy farmers and industry stakeholders about potential pathways toward market stabilization. The Minnesota meeting will be 10 a.m. to noon April 16 at the Greenwald Pub, 310 First Ave. N, Greenwald.

Dairy Together is a collaboration between Farmers Union and the National Farmers Organization. The groups will present research on plans that consider federal milk order system reform via a structured dairy pricing program, as well as avenues of oversupply management through an updated version of the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, which was considered for the 2014 Farm Bill.

Recognizing the urgency of the situation dairy farmers are facing, the groups also will unveil plans for short-term emergency relief.

“Our current milk marketplace is not getting family dairy farmers a fair income,” says Gary Wertish, MFU president.  “We have a major surplus of milk, and too many dairies have had to close. We need long-term solutions that will make dairying a sustainable income for any size farm, and we look forward to sharing the research done about it.”

Farm income analysis

Last winter, Wisconsin Farmers Union enlisted dairy economists Mark Stephenson from the University of Wisconsin and Chuck Nicholson from Cornell University to analyze selected dairy programs to reduce volatility in milk prices and farm income.

The meetings will share researchers’ data on several potential programs’ impacts on net farm operating income, farm numbers, domestic demand and cost to the government versus the Margin Protection Program.

“The bottom line on what we found was generally pretty positive in terms of thinking of what these programs could do,” Nicholson says. “We saw reduced variation in prices and also some price enhancement, increased net farm operating incomes, reduction in the rate of farm exits across farms of all sizes and a reduction in government expenditures on dairy programs.”

Structured dairy pricing

USDA data shows that production costs are higher for smaller dairies than for large ones. The National Farmers Organization proposes modifying the Federal Milk Marketing Order by recognizing the differences in costs to produce milk on differing farm sizes. The policy would change the way money pooled on the FMMO would be distributed, allocating funds to dairy farmers at two tiers based on milk marketing volume.

Dick Bylsma, National Farmers Organization dairy sales director, says marketing orders were originally created in the 1930s to level the dairy farmer playing field and improve prices paid to producers.

“But now, the order system no longer achieves its original goals,” he says. “If milk marketing orders can recognize differing product values, it can also recognize different production costs on various farm sizes.”

Check out a video of Nicholson and Stephenson discussing their research. 

To register for the event, visit You may also RSVP by contacting Bruce Miller, MFU Membership and Outreach director at or 651-288-4064.

Source: Minnesota Farmers Union, which is responsible for information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and its subsidiaries aren’t responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.


Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.