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American Dairy Coalition Applauds USDA’s ‘robust’ Federal Milk Price Hearing Notice

GREEN BAY, Wis. – July 21, 2023 — American Dairy Coalition applauds the USDA notice of public rulemaking through a national hearing for all Federal Milk Marketing Orders, set to begin August 23 in Carmel, Indiana.

“We are extremely pleased to see that the Class I mover formula will be addressed in the national hearing’s scope, including the proposals from National Milk Producers Federation and American Farm Bureau to go back to the ‘higher of’ method,” said Laurie Fischer, CEO of ADC. “We support this, and we know it was the one item that received the most complete consensus at the Farm Bureau’s stakeholder forum last October in Kansas City. The move away from the ‘higher of’ to the ‘average of’ method in 2019 was not vetted through a hearing and has led to increased volatility and steep, unnecessary losses for dairy farmers.”

Fischer noted that among the 30 proposals USDA received, 21 are in the hearing scope.

“The hearing scope reflects many of the topics that have come up from grassroots dairy farmers during ADC’s surveys, webinars, phone conferences, and discussions. We are heartened to see a robust scope and welcome the process for dairy farmers to participate in person or virtually,” said Fischer, observing that the notice includes a process for dairy farmers to pre-register to testify in person at any time or virtually by Zoom on Friday time-slots throughout the proceedings.

Among the other proposals included in the hearing scope, AFBF’s Class I and II proposal includes additional adjustments such as elimination of the ‘advanced’ pricing. IDFA’s Class I proposal wants to keep the simple average plus 74-cent-adjuster or use a ‘rolling adjuster.’ Milk Innovation Group’s (MIG) proposal wants to keep the ‘average of’ but change the ‘adjuster’ monthly via a 24-month look-back with a 12-month lag. Two Edge proposals are included, one being a Class III-plus formula and the other would use the ‘higher of’ but base it on end-of-month announced class and component prices instead of advance pricing.

The hearing docket also contains four proposals on Class I differentials, including NMPF’s proposal to increase them in all locations by varying amounts as well as MIG’s proposal to lower them across the board by $1.60.

Two proposals from NMPF and National All Jersey to update milk component factors are included as well as six proposals on Class III and IV formulas. Three are separate make allowance proposals from NMPF, IDFA and Wisconsin Cheesemakers, as well as three from Select Milk Producers on butterfat recovery, farm to plant shrink and nonfat solids yield.

In addition, the hearing scope includes proposals on how commodity products are surveyed, including AFBF’s proposal to add 640-pound block cheese and unsalted bulk butter, while California Dairy Campaign’s proposal would add mozzarella.

The hearing notice will be officially published in the July 24 Federal Register. A copy is available at https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2023-15496.pdf

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