The 1930s have been calling—and they want their dairy challenges back.
More than 180 representatives from the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Milk Producers Federation, dairy cooperatives, processors, state dairy associations, and dairy farmers from across the country met for the first industry-wide Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) Forum.
Backstory: The FMMO started in the Depression era when dairy farmers asked Congress to offset the imbalance of power: few buyers, but a lot of dairy farmers. The purpose is to ensure there’s enough fluid milk for drinkin’ and that dairy farmers have reliable markets.
Get with the times: This marks the first time the dairy industry has said, “We’re all in this together,” without being separated into factions with differing goals. Farmers and industry reps discussed FMMO modernization, including Class price formulas, de-pooling, and more.
The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Milk Producers Federation issued a joint statement on the need for FMMO improvements following the meeting, and other organizations poured on their support.
Soundbite: “We have a lot of producers, and we have fewer buyers. There is an imbalance of market power. That imbalance existed in the 1930s,” said Dana Coale, a USDA Agricultural Marketing Service deputy administrator over the dairy program.
How this mooooves forward: The statement from AFBF and NMPF says they anticipate “a hearing conducted by USDA in 2023 that could address FMMO price formulas.”