cows in field

Food Farmer Resolutions Regarding The 2012 Farm Bill

Added December 6, 2011

At their respective annual meetings in November, and through national tele-conferencing, the Federation Of Organic Dairy Farmers (Food Farmers) agreed on the following resolutions as key points in any 2012/2013 discussions of the Farm Bill.

  1. FOOD Farmers supports maintaining the current status of organic milk within the Federal Milk Marketing Order.

    It is premature for organic dairy to unilaterally leave the FMMO before a thorough investigation of its relevance and benefits to organic dairy. Leaving the FMMO would benefit the processors’ bottom line to the tune of $30 million per year but would deprive producers of many opportunities. Currently the FMMO is the only method of having audited data on the volumes of beverage organic milk that is sold. This data is used by producers to evaluate the existing market and historical trends when they enter negotiations with individual processors. It is also used by organizations to advocate for research dollars for organic; is used by lenders as the only independent source of information on the organic dairy market, and is used by the media to reflect the state of the market. The FMMO is able to provide timely information and an organizational structure that can form the basis for organic dairy market stabilization and insurance programs if producers wanted to take advantage of these options. Unilaterally exiting from the FMMO would create tensions with non-organic producers and processors with unknown effects on future options for balancing milk, especially in areas where manufacturing capacity is tight.
  2. FOOD Farmers supports the investigation of the viability and relevance to the market of an organic FMMO.
    As USDA examines the future of the FMMO as proposed under the present draft of the Farm Bill, we request that FOOD Farmers represent the interest of organic dairy producers during these discussions. We suggest that the USDA include the following areas of discussion:
  • Organic dairy should be a separate commodity within the FMMO, with its own Pool of milk and its own criteria for determining payments into that Pool. FOOD Farmers does not support using the FMMO as a way to calculate an organic pay price.
  • USDA needs to look at ways of tapping into existing information and existing forms for gathering data that can also be used to provide information on organic dairy. This would ensure that the organic dairy industry would have independent information on production, manufacturing and sales of organic milk that would ensure industry wide transparency.
    ·With organic being a separate commodity within the FMMO, it would be able to provide timely information and an organizational structure that can form the basis for organic dairy market stabilization and insurance programs. Any restructuring of the FMMO should be designed to accommodate these options.
  • Within the current draft Farm Bill is a provision for margin insurance based on non-organic data tied to supply management for all dairy producers. FOOD Farmers request that the option for insurance and supply management based on organic feed and pay price be considered as an option for organic producers and that this is tied to organic dairy supply management similar to the conventional dairy proposal. Also similar to the conventional dairy proposal, any penalties for oversupply of organic milk would be paid into a fund that would be used to promote organic consumption and the organic dairy industry.