Late yesterday, National Milk announced that it was nearing its goal for the revised Cooperatives Working Together program that will focus exclusively on export assistance. The new CWT payment rate is 2 cents per hundredweight of milk. The goal was to get participation representing 75 percent of the U.S. milk supply. Before, when the CWT program funded both the herd retirement program and export assistance, the payment rate had been 10 cents per hundredweight and participation was somewhat less than 60 percent.

In its News for Dairy Co-ops newsletter, NMPF indicated that membership forms have been received from 22 of CWT's 2009-2010 members. In addition, seven new cooperative members also have signed up. They are First District Association, Magic Valley Quality Milk Producers, Midwest Dairymen's Company, Prairie Farms Dairy, Premier Milk, Southeast Milk, and Swiss Valley Farms.

Those 29 cooperatives put CWT participation at more than 60 percent of the national milk supply, according to Jim Tillison, NMPF chief operating officer. He expects the 75-percent goal to be reached by the end of this month.

The continuation of the CWT program for two more years had been assured thanks to a $30 million carryover of unused program funds. That money for export assistance was to be divided equally between 2011 and 2012. Going forward, if milk marketings were 190 billion pounds and the participation level was 75 percent, 2 cents per hundredweight would total $28.5 million.

Dairy co-op members can inquire with their co-op about participation. Independent producers can sign up by completing a membership agreement form available at or by calling 888-463-6298.