Foundation for the Future Centerpiece of Change for Dairy Industry
Source: NMPF news release
Focusing on the need for dairy farmers to rise above individual differences and overcome the fear of change in order to move forward with the Foundation for the Future
initiative, National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Chairman Randy Mooney and President and CEO Jerry Kozak presented their joint yearly report to the membership at NMPF's 2010 Annual Meeting Oct. 27 in Reno, Nev.
Taking turns speaking, Mooney and Kozak described the year-long journey that has culminated in a solid plan for fundamentally changing dairy policy in this country. Foundation for the Future was designed to address what various stakeholders in the industry need, are concerned with, and will support.
"I believe its greatest asset is that it is achievable," Mooney commented. "Foundation for the Future is politically practical . . . regardless of which party is in control of Congress after this year.”
Even though Foundation for the Future consumed much of the public spotlight throughout 2010, Mooney and Kozak also discussed other less-known but similarly important efforts NMPF has been involved with this year.
The organization is still fighting the misbranding of imitation dairy products, such as soy "milk." Kozak explained that NMPF first petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 10 years ago to remind dairy imitators about labeling laws. Since then, the market for these imitation products has flourished, prompting NMPF to launch "They Don't Got Milk
," a campaign encouraging people to write to FDA to enforce their own labeling standards.
Raw milk received national attention last summer, when NMPF urged Wisconsin's Governor Jim Doyle to veto a bill expanding raw milk sales there. Mooney emphasized that "NMPF has made it clear that loosening restrictions on the sales of raw milk is ultimately a public health threat."
The year brought with it a host of regulatory issues. NMPF tangled with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the issue of oil spill regulations, where "somehow, the EPA has confused the threat of petroleum spills with the milkfat in a bulk tank," Kozak said. The EPA has also been on NMPF's radar due to its insistence on regulating a variety of sources of greenhouse gases.
NMPF was also actively engaged in legislative issues on Capitol Hill. Child nutrition reauthorization, the vegan agenda, immigration reform, and the estate tax all had the potential to impact the dairy industry, and will likely be topics of interest in the coming year.
Mooney and Kozak also listed the various trade concerns NMPF has been following:
· The European Union's shift in somatic cell count compliance levels for U.S. exports (no more than 400,000) has jeopardized a significant export market for whey and other dairy products.
· China called into question the safety and quality of U.S. dairy exports.
· Russia recently arbitrarily cut off imports of various products from a number of countries.
· Mexico imposed tariffs on U.S. dairy exports in retaliation for the U.S. violation of NAFTA obligations.
All were "example[s] of NMPF leading instead of following," Kozak noted.
The two leaders were happy to report that the National Dairy FARM Program
(Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) has entered its second phase, in which individual farms and cooperatives are being enrolled into the program. They noted that FARM has been an important way to demonstrate to consumers and retailers a verifiable commitment to animal care.
As they concluded their speech, Mooney and Kozak remembered the leadership and spirit of former NMPF Chairman Tom Camerlo, who passed away in 2009. In honor of Camerlo, Mooney announced that NMPF had created a new award category: the NMPF Leadership Hall of Fame. Camerlo will be the first recipient of the award, as NMPF gives it to him posthumously at a luncheon on Oct. 28.
The full text from Mooney and Kozak's joint speech is available on the NMPF website
Based in Arlington, Va., NMPF develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s 31 cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 40,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more on NMPF’s activities, visit www.nmpf.org