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Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Discusses Reform Concepts for Federal Milk Orders; John Umhoefer and Steve Bechel Comment

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Discusses Reform Concepts for Federal Milk Orders; John Umhoefer and Steve Bechel Comment


MADISON, WI
Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

We recently received a timely update from the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA). Its Board of Directors announced that it has approved concepts to improve and reform federal milk marketing order pricing provisions. This took place at a special October 26 meeting for the association.

John Umhoefer, Executive Director, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association“Our goal is a healthy system of diverse dairy farms and dairy processors making delicious and nutritious dairy foods, venturing into new markets, and providing profitable and meaningful work for millions of Americans,” said John Umhoefer, Executive Director.

This set of recommendations emerged from the ongoing work of WCMA’s federal order reform committee, initiated in early 2021 to consider the future of the nation’s government-legislated milk pricing and pooling system, a press release noted.

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association's Board of Directors announced that it has approved concepts to improve and reform federal milk marketing order pricing provisions

The six proposals endorsed by WCMA’s 21-member Board of Directors include:

  • Adoption of dynamic make allowances for milk price formulas which incorporate regular cost of processing audits and current-cost price adjusters
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) collaboration with industry to address the volatility between block cheddar and barrel cheese prices used to value protein in Class 3 milk
  • USDA collaboration with the dairy industry to develop a new value for other solids in the Class 3 milk price formula
  • Maintain depooling and repooling provisions found in individual orders
  • Permanent adoption of the Dairy Forward Pricing Program in the upcoming Farm Bill
  • Expand funding for staffing and services provided by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service

Steve Bechel, President, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association“Our Board has endorsed our reform committee’s principle that federal milk orders should augment, not impede, the free market to assure strong market competition for farmers’ fresh milk and processors’ dairy products,” said WCMA President Steve Bechel, President of Eau Galle Cheese.

Bechel went on to note in the press release that augmenting the free market means that order pooling and pricing rules should encourage voluntary participation in the order by the maximum number of milk buyers. These rules should avoid creating advantages for one group of processors versus another group.

In light of these reforms, the WCMA federal order reform committee encourages the dairy industry and USDA to embrace pre-hearing meetings and information sessions to build consensus and streamline a national federal order hearing process.

For more information on the reforms, read the WCMA press release here.

Stay tuned as DMN brings you more updates.

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association
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