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Mixed bag for dairy farmers in proposed milk order updates

USDA releases reform plan, but concerns remain


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released its proposals for revising the Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMOs) that govern milk pricing nationwide. These proposals follow a lengthy hearing process that considered input from farmers, processors, and others involved in the dairy industry.

The American Farm Bureau identifies both positive and negative aspects in the USDA's plan. The proposals would increase the value returned to farmers for milk bottling and reinstate a potentially beneficial pricing formula.

A major concern for the Farm Bureau is the significant reduction in milk class prices to account for processing costs. They argue that there's insufficient data to justify these reductions.

The Farm Bureau also advocated for changes that weren't included, such as increasing the price differential for Class II milk (used in various products) and adding a different cheese type to the price survey that sets the cheese milk price.

The USDA will accept public comments before finalizing the rule. The Farm Bureau plans to submit suggestions and emphasizes the importance of a new farm bill with provisions for mandatory audits of processors' costs. This data is seen as crucial for future milk pricing decisions.

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