Archive for the ‘NMPF’ Category

Don’t Let Your Taste Buds Fool You

April 17, 2014 — “It’s not real dairy if it’s made from a bean, a seed, a nut, or a weed,” says DairyUS, the animated Real Seal character, in his latest video.

The video is a reminder to consumers that only real dairy products have the same nutrition they have come to know and love and imitation products don’t necessarily have the same nutritional benefits and shouldn’t be able to call themselves milk, cheese or yogurt.

That’s one of the reasons the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) took over the Real Seal program last year, according to Chris Galen. NMPF is using the RealSeal.com website to remind consumers that not all products made from imitation sources have the same nutritional content.
Milk includes vitamins A and D, calcium, potassium and a bevy of other nutrients including protein.

“A lot of these imitators are very skimpy on the protein content in particular,” Galen said.

The Real Seal program continues to grow. This year NMPF is setting up a Pinterest page for people to share cooking recipes and health and wellness information.

“That cries out a presence for the dairy’s Real Seal,” Galen reported. “To remind people that when they do go shopping, eat out or share recipes – dairy ingredients should be real ones and display the Real Seal.”

NMPF remains disappointed that the Food & Drug Administration hasn’t done anything to go after imitators who misuse terms like milk, cheese and yogurt.

“That’s why we need to have a proactive campaign, using something like the Real Seal as a designation that reminds people that only products displaying that seal are made from real dairy products,” he concluded.

For more info go to http://www.RealSeal.com

 

 

NMPF Praises GMO Labeling Bill

April 10, 2014 — The National Milk Producers Federation this week applauded introduction of legislation establishing federal standards for the safety and labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).

Under the bill, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), the Food and Drug Administration will set standards for companies that wish to label their products as containing or not containing GMOs. In addition, FDA is required to conduct a safety review of all new genetically modified traits and could mandate labeling if there is a health, safety or nutrition issue with a particular ingredient.  The legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY).

“Rather than create a patchwork of state policies, what this legislation would do is deal with this important issue at the national level,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF.  “And since there is no reason for Congress and the FDA to require mandatory labels on foods produced through GMOs, we need this approach instead:  clarifying how companies can voluntarily label their products in a way that reduces confusion at the consumer level.”

Mulhern added that “genetically modified ingredients have been used in foods in this country for two decades. They add desirable traits so that crops are more plentiful and require less water and fewer pesticides.  If companies want to highlight their presence, they should be able to do so in a way that enhances trust in the food supply.”

The GMO labeling legislation also addresses another problem by ordering the FDA to define the term “natural” when used on food labels. Right now, there is no uniform definition of natural when applied to foods.

Up to 80 percent of the food available in the United States contains genetically modified ingredients. Agencies including the FDA, the U.S. Agriculture Department, the National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization have found no negative health effects from consuming GMOs.

The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. Visit www.nmpf.org for more information.

‘Brew to Moo’ is Safe For Food Industry

April 3, 2014 — The National Milk Producers Federation has asked the Food and Drug Administration to rewrite a draft livestock feed regulation, saying the agency went beyond the nmpfintent of Congress by seeking to impose requirements that will not make animal feed safer.

In comments sent to the agency Monday, NMPF asked FDA to substantially revise the regulation and requested the agency establish a new round of comments from industry and the public. “FDA has the authority to re-propose the regulation and still comply with (a) court-ordered deadline to publish a final rule by August 30, 2015,” NMPF said. NMPF made the request in two sets of comments, one focused on dairy plant safety and the other addressing animal feed.

The draft regulations were issued under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which gave the FDA broad new authority to regulate food. NMPF said it supports efforts to implement the 2010 law, but believes that the draft animal feed regulation goes too far, particularly because it would make it harder to use brewers’ grain as animal feed, a practice in use for hundreds of years.

Among other things, NMPF, the Washington voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers, said the draft regulation incorrectly imposes safety standards on animal feed that are similar to those for human food. The proposed regulation incorrectly establishes manufacturing standards that equate animal feed and human food. “The innate hygienic standards of humans exceed the hygienic standards of livestock,” the organization said. It asked FDA to propose manufacturing standards specific to animal feed.

The proposed regulation also unnecessarily regulates by-products from brewing when they are used in animal feed, even though there is no public health risk associated with these products.  This “will result in unnecessary increased costs to dairy producers,” NMPF said. It joined the Beer Institute and the American Malting Barley Association in requesting FDA use the existing authority in the FSMA to exempt animal feed products made during the production of alcoholic beverages.

In separate comments submitted jointly with the International Dairy Foods Association, NMPF also identified unnecessary and duplicative requirements for dairy processing plants which may divert some food production materials such as cheese trim and liquid whey to animal feed. These plants are already subject to FSMA requirements for human food production. NMPF stated the proposed standards “do not reflect the inherent differences between foods for human and animal consumption” for diverted food production materials and requested regulatory relief for these dairy processing plants.

With the substantial changes requested, NMPF asked FDA to conform the regulations with the intent of the FSMA and issue a new draft. “Given the very significant nature of these regulations, a second opportunity for stakeholders comment is essential to ensure the final rule is practical, achievable and fosters the safe production and distribution of animal feed,” NMPF said.

Farmland – Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

March 27, 2014 —  Over the past few years there have been several documentaries critical of agriculture which may have prompted the producers of conventional food products to fight back with a film of their own. Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Moll’s new feature length documentary, Farmland, will be released nationally May 1, 2014. The film will be distributed via D&E Entertainment in more than 60 major markets. Numerous national exhibitors will be carrying the film including: Regal Cinemas, Marcus Theatres, Carmike Cinemas, Landmark Theatres and many key independent theaters.

“It’s not about the mechanics or science of producing food, but rather about the high risk, high reward opportunities and the way of life involved in food production, and how it is being passed down from generation to generation,” Chris Galen of the National Milk Producers Federation reported on Thursday’s DairyLine.

The film will have its New York premiere at a private screening on April 17, during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Additionally, Farmland has been selected to be in competition this year at Cleveland International Film Festival on March 28-29, 2014; Atlanta Film Festival on April 6, 2014; Nashville Film Festival on April 19, 2014; and Newport Beach Film Festival in April 2014.

Farmland offers viewers an intimate and firsthand glimpse into the lives of six young farmers and ranchers across the U.S., chronicling their high-risk/high-reward jobs and their passion for a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation, yet continues to evolve.

“In Farmland, audiences will hear thoughts and opinions about agriculture, but not from me, and not from a narrator,” Moll says about his film. “They’re from the mouths of the farmers and ranchers themselves.”

The documentary features an original score composed by Nathan Wang with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The film also includes an original recording of “This Land is Your Land” performed in a first-ever collaboration with platinum rock band Everclear and Grammy® Award-nominated artist Liz Phair.

Visit www.FarmlandFilm.com to locate a theatre near you where Farmland will be screening, as well as additional information about the film and to watch the trailer.

Farmland was produced by Moll’s Allentown Productions, with generous support from the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance®(USFRA®).

 

Farmers Call For Immigration Reform

March 20, 2014 — Farmers and ranchers gathered at the National Press Club in downtown Washington, D.C. Tuesday calling for Congress to act on immigration reform. Congress

Dairy producers Mary Kraft of Colorado and Russell Boening from Texas spoke on a personal level of how important it is to have access to an adequate work force of immigrant laborers.  

“We need to have the farmers in mind when we go up to Capitol Hill and talk about the stakes for agriculture,” National Milk’s Chris Galen reported. “All of agriculture is really dependent on getting this issue fixed.”

The issue of immigration reform is nothing new but it appears to have stalled in the House. Congress is not expected to get a lot done in 2014 before the elections, but farmers say immigration reform should be one issue that needs to be addressed.

“The clock is ticking,” Galen said. “There are only so many days left in the legislative calendar.”

The agriculture industry is working on building alliances with other sectors of the economy. NMPF is part of a partnership for a new American economy, largely focused on hi-tech workers to make sure they get visas to work in the U.S.

“We are trying to partner with those folks to talk about how agriculture needs this so called ‘blue card’ for people who work specifically in agriculture in this country,” Galen concluded.

Senators Yell “Food Fight”

March 13, 2014 — U.S. Senators are yelling “Food Fight” after the European Union want to take back common food names that have been made here in the U.S. for decades. CongressCheese names in particular, like Parmesan, Feta and Havarti.

55 Senators co-signed a letter this week sent to USDA and the Office of U.S. Trade Representative, requesting that the issue stays off the table during upcoming negotiations between the U.S. and the European Union.

“It’s going to be a big battle because Europe sees this as one way they can gain an upper hand in cheese and food sales by saying only cheeses from certain regions in certain countries can have these names,” NMPF’s Chris Galen said. “These names have been used by American food makers for many, many years.  It’’s a big deal that we got this letter out because it shows there is a bipartisan majority in the Senate that will be watching this issue, along with the rest of us in the dairy industry.”

 

Dairy Program Has More Questions Than Answers

March 13, 2014 — There are more questions than answers over the new dairy program that USDA is putting together from the new farm bill, and it may take some time to nmpflogoimplement.

Deputy Secretary Krista Harden updated National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) board members on the timeline.

We are still waiting for answers as to when the sign up actually starts, how they are going to treat new entrants and how it affects those who may be selling or leasing out their operations. There is also the issue of how payments for the insurance program will be made if we get into low margin situations.

“There are a lot of very important decisions that have to be made, and we’re not going to know those answers right away,” NMPF’s Chris Galen said. Adding it may be later in the summer before we know those answers. “What we really wanted to do is have that dialogue continue with the Dept. of Agricutlure to make it as farmer friendly as possible,” Galen concluded.  

FDA Report: Raw Milk Residues Continued Decline

Milk-Natures-Perfect-foodFebruary 27, 2014 – The Food and Drug Administration’s latest National Drug Residue Database (NMDRD) shows that only 0.014 percent of all truckloads of raw milk tested positive for medicinal animal drug residues in fiscal year 2013. The results, which are published yearly, shows the figure dropped from 0.016 percent last year.

The U.S. dairy industry tests every truckload of raw milk prior to use. All truckloads of raw milk testing positive for violative drug residues are disposed of and not used to produce food for human consumption. The benefits of this standard practice are reflected in the fact that no residues were found in any of the more than 160,000 samples of pasteurized milk and milk products tested since 2010 and reported through FDA’s NMDRD reports.

Furthermore, the amount of milk disposed of in fiscal years 2009 through 2013 continues a decline that began in fiscal year 2008, according to the NMDRD.

IDFA’s vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards, John Allan, stated on IDFA’s website that “The results further illustrate the high level of safeguards the dairy industry has in place to ensure that consumers can safely enjoy our high quality and nutritious dairy products.”

Dairy farmers and veterinarians use animal medicines under strict controls to treat sick dairy cattle. Treated cattle are removed from regular milk production and are not returned to the milking herd until their milk is free of any medicinal residues. When used according to label directions, medicines should not result in any residues in the milk. Testing of all bulk milk trucks is designed to ensure that all necessary precautions are being taken to keep residues out of the milk supply.

Over 15 Percent of U.S. Milk Exported Overseas

cwtthumbFebruary 20, 2014 — 2014 is shaping up to be another busy in the export activities of Cooperatives Working Together. Last year, cheese exports topped 127 million pounds, and butter about 90 million pounds.

Just to put that in perspective, through the first 10 months of 2013, CWT assisted products that accounted for 82 percent of all U.S. American type cheese exports and 57 percent of all U.S. butter exports.

“That’s a significant chunk of all the dairy exports that we’ve been selling overseas.” Chris Galen reported on Thursday’s DairyLine. He reminds us that 15.5 percent of our total milk production was exported.

So far this year, CWT has assisted in selling about 21 million pounds of cheese, 6 million pounds of butter and about 1 million pounds of whole milk powder to 18 countries on four continents. That’s an equivalent to 330 million pounds of milk, just through the first month-and-a-half of this year.

“A lot of the increase we are expecting to see in milk production this year is destined for foreign markets, but those sales would not be happening without the activities of Cooperatives Working Together,” Galen said.

He says the CWT program has really ramped up in the last few years with about 70 percent of all the milk marketed in the U.S. is paying the four cent per hundredweight assessment. Most of the membership is through cooperatives, but some individual farmers are also paid members.  

“One of the things about CWT is we really do try to target our efforts,” Galen said. “For example we really want to help market American type cheeses because they most directly impact dairy farmers’ milk prices.”   He says they also want to help Co-Ops make these sales and earn repeat business to establish a foot-hold with buyers in foreign countries so there is not just a “one off” relationship but rather something that is an ongoing effort to build a home for American made dairy products overseas.

New Margin Insurance Program Will Be A Learning Curve

 

Chris Galen, NMPF

Chris Galen, NMPF

February 6, 2014 — President Obama heads to Michigan Friday to formally sign the Farm Bill. The U.S. Senate passed the measure last Tuesday, ending a five year journey.

“If you look at the dairy industry and what is in the dairy title of the Farm Bill, it is the culmination of a half-decade’s worth of work of National Milk, our members, and a whole lot other farm groups and individual farmers who have pushed for something new and different,” said NMPF’s Chris Galen on Thursday’s DairyLine.

We learned during the great dairy recession of 2009 that the Dairy Product Price Support Program and the Milk Income Loss Contract was not the optimal safety net for dairy farmers, so now dairy producers get a new margin protection program.

The voluntary program will allow dairy farmers to cover the difference between national average milk prices and the national average cost of buying feed.

“That, we think, is going to be a much better program for the 21st Century as we see more products going to export, more global volatility and more competition around the world,” as well as more demand,” Galen said.

In the meantime, dairy farmers – both large and small – are waiting to see how this will be implemented. One of the biggest questions is when it starts. The program is supposed to start Sept. 1, 2014, but it’s unclear whether that’s when the coverage begins or that’s when the sign up period starts? NMPF is waiting for the answer from USDA.

“We are going to be spending a lot of time in the next seven or eight months working closely with USDA to make sure that this new policy is going to be implemented in a farmer friendly way,” Galen said. “It’s an education process.”

Ag Secretary Vilsack said earlier that dairy might be a challenge to implement because of the learning curve. In the past, dairy producers just had to sign up for the MILC program, now through the new margin insurance program, producers have to decide how much milk to cover and at what margin level.

The good news is we have over seven months for producers to learn the ins and outs of this new program.

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