During the cooperative’s seventh annual meeting held on February 22-23 in Onalaska, Wis., cooperative delegates set dairy policy directives for the organization.
Delegates approved new policy in several key areas, including federal dairy policy, consumer awareness, truth in labeling, commodity advertising, research and promotion programs and dairy farm inspections.
Delegates urged for quick implementation of the new Dairy Margin Coverage program in the 2018 Farm Bill and expressed frustration with the price differences between lower Chicago Mercantile Exchange dairy product prices and higher dairy product prices at the retail level.
After a lengthy discussion on supply management, delegates adopted the statement, ‘We are willing to consider a supply management system,’ similar to other farm organizations in the Midwest.
In the area of truth in labeling and consumer awareness, delegates supported language for greater transparency in food labels when it comes to lab-produced proteins and imitation products for dairy and meat. Delegates also adopted language to encourage the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow fluid milk to be labeled by the percentage of fat-free content rather that the percentage of fat content.
With respect to dairy checkoffs, delegates supported having dairy farmers and dairy processors share equally in funding the operating expenses for the University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research. With regards to dairy inspections, delegates supported greater coordination between federal and state milk inspectors for greater consistency between information given to farmers.
Policies adopted at the meeting will guide the legislative agenda for the cooperative in the year ahead. Resolutions were submitted by cooperative members as part of the cooperative’s grassroots policy development process.
FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative was established in 2013 and is based in Madison, Wis. The cooperative represents farms in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana through policy bargaining, dairy marketing services, laboratory testing opportunities and industry promotion.