February 1, 2013 — The nation’s dairy processors gathered in Florida this week for the International Dairy Foods Association’s annual Dairy Forum. DairyBusinesss Updates’ Dave Natzke provided a recap on Friday’s DairyLine:
From milk pricing policy and dairy product ingredient standards to biofuel energy and food labeling, federal policies no longer adequately address the needs of a modern dairy industry, IDFA CEO and president Connie Tipton told about 1,000 industry members attending the 2013 IDFA Dairy Forum. Tipton said many current policies – dating back to the 1930s – were antiquated, limiting innovation and stifling growth for the U.S. dairy industry. She suggested without changes, dairy processors in all all regions of the United States would no longer be assured of enough milk to meet their demand.
Last year’s drought and biofuel energy policies combined to increase dairy farmer feed prices last year, limiting milk production in some regions. Growing global dairy demand was also shrinking supplies of U.S. milk for some domestic processors, at the same time things like the booming Northeast yogurt industry were increasing domestic demand.
Despite its challenges, the U.S. dairy industry’s future is full of promise and potential, Tipton said. She said with changes to some federal policies, dairy producers and processors would be able to meet the worldwide demand for protein-rich dairy foods, as well as address U.S. consumer demand for convenience, quality and variety in the dairy products it buys.
Natzke also provided an update on the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program:
Last week we talked about extension of MILC under the bill approved by Congress to address the “fiscal cliff.” This week, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced additional details regarding the so-called “start month relief period” for larger dairy producers. Those producers – as well as any new dairy farmers who wish to enroll in MILC – should contact their local FSA office between Feb. 1-28 to do the appropriate paperwork.
FSA also announced that retroactive MILC payments for September 2012 milk marketings – approximately 59¢ per hundredweight – would be sent to dairy farmers beginning about Feb. 5.