The dairy industry is under siege from crushing global market and demand changes, but in their joint address this week to the National Milk Producers Federation 2009 Annual Meeting Chairman Randy Mooney and President and CEO Jerry Kozak outlined a range of actions taken by the organization in the past year. Their aim was to counteract the economic recession facing dairy producers.
They both explained why they took USDA to court last December, winning a legal battle that prevented the agency from selling surplus milk powder to the lowest bidder. They noted that USDA's effort had to be stopped because the 2008 Farm Bill specifically barred the agency from selling any surplus dairy products it has purchased for less than 110% of the purchase price. Kozak noted that USDA was "considering circumventing that law by giving the powder to a third party to auction at a lower price."
They note that interaction between NMPF and USDA has been collaborative in 2009. They outlined the actions brought before the agency. These have been accomplished:
- Liquidating surplus buildup of 200 million pounds of nonfat milk powder.
- Reactiving the Dairy Export Incentive Program to help sell more than 900 million pounds of products overseas.
- Raising the price support levels temporarily.
- Buying cheese products for consumers, which Congress ultimately funded as part of a $350 million dairy aid package.
This is just a summary of actions outlined at the annual meeting. For more information visit the group's Web site.