Farm Progress

Farm Bureau calls for FMMO Hearing

Duvall supports plan presented by NMPF.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

May 9, 2023

2 Min Read
cows getting milked
Getty Images

The American Farm Bureau Federation is calling on USDA to accept a May 1 petition by the National Milk Producers Federation to hold a comprehensive Federal Milk Marketing Order hearing. It’s a step AFBF President Zippy Duvall says is long overdue.

In a May 9 open letter to USDA Agriculture Marketing Services Deputy Dairy Program Administrator Dana Coal, Duvall also called on USDA to implement mandatory, audited surveys of dairy processors to be used when determining the make allowances factored into dairy pricing. He says that a comprehensive price hearing could balance the needs of both milk-producing farmers and dairy processors.

“Dairy farmers continue to face market challenges as part of the high-cost, high-risk times we live in,” Duvall said in his letter. “Trust is critical to maintaining an efficient and resilient federal order system that promotes orderly marketing of milk to consumers across the country.”

To support his recommendation, Duvall noted that the AFBF responded to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s call for industry recommendations by holding an FMMO forum. The forum included dairy farmers from around the country as well as cooperative leaders, processors, USDA officials and other industry representatives. They discussed multiple topics including the Class pricing formulas, reducing incentives to do-pool, greater transparency in payment methods and the need to make the FMMO system more effective based on current market conditions. The results of the forum were used to shape policy for both the NMPF and the AFBF.

In addition to the call for a petition, the NMPF also called for additional changes, including no longer using barrel cheese in the protein component price formula, returning to the “higher-of” Class I mover, updating the milk component factors in the Class III and Class IV skim milk price formulas and updating the Class I differential pricing surface. Duvall says the AFBF supports those proposals as well.

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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