Dairy Cooperatives Appreciate Milk Pricing Reform Moving Forward

To start the week, USDA released the much-anticipated initial recommendations for Federal Milk Marketing Order reform. This signals the next stage of the process is about to begin. It also gave Wisconsin’s dairy industry a clearer view of what changes the Agricultural Marketing Service proposes.

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative says it’s encouraged by USDA’s announcement.

“Much of what we have advocated for in Federal Milk Marketing Order reform over the past three years appears to be reflected in USDA’s recommendations,” says Sarah Sarbacker, FarmFirst Director of Communications and Marketing. “This is a complex issue, but from what we have seen so far, USDA has acknowledged what dairy farmers, cooperatives, and other stakeholders have been asking them to address. As we move forward, we are optimistic that necessary changes will be made to improve the milk-pricing system for dairy producers.”

AMS’ recommended changes included proposals by Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, as well, which focused on improving price discovery and maintaining strong risk management.

“We appreciate the thorough and dedicated work the AMS team did in curating all the testimony, written responses, and market analysis done to get us where we are today,” says CEO Tim Trotter.

Edge Managing Director Lucas Sjostrom explains that once the recommendation is published in the Federal Register, the clock starts.

“From the day of publication, there will be a 30-day window to provide feedback to the AMS; 60 days after public comments close the AMS will release their final recommendation,” he says. “We anticipate there will be a period of education between the final recommendation and when farmers will need to vote. We anticipate a vote to take place sometime close to early 2025.”