Thus far, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted 171 derogations for dairy producers who have been unable to comply with a 400,000 cells/ml somatic cell count (SCC) requirement to comply with European Union dairy export requirements.
All of the derogations have been annual, and none for a three-month seasonal period, says Becky Unkenholz, a USDA spokesperson.
The number of derogations granted are far fewer than expected. In June, we reported that roughly 10% of Upper Midwest dairy farms didn’t meet the 400,000 SCC limit. The limit is based on a three-month rolling geometric average. The processors reported that about 4% of the Upper Midwest milk supply was at risk of non-compliance. For the June estimate, click here.
Dairy processors had to start reporting farms out of compliance this past spring. Publicity over the past year has certainly caught dairy farmers’ attention. In June, Ron Collet with Dairy Farmers of America reported that quality premiums for lower SCCs had doubled since the first of the year.
In addition, some processors have yet to submit their "official" derogation request list because they have not yet tabulated SCC test results for the month of July. Those submissions should come later this week.