Hoard's Dairyman's third webinar was a great success! Dr. Mark Stephenson, Director of Dairy Policy Analysis for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, presented "How milk production control plans compare." He focused on three of the control plans, the Costa/Sanders bill(s), NMPF's Foundation for the Future, and Marginal Milk Pricing. His slides clearly showed the projected effects of each proposal, taking into consideration internal dairy shocks (feed prices, input costs, unusually harsh weather, etc) and external shocks (tsunami, war, etc).

He also outlined how individual herd production growth overtime could be achieved and the short-comings of producing more milk than the herd's assigned production (based on previous milk production levels).

His message was clear. There is nothing inherently "good" or "bad" about any of the programs. Their impact on dairy pricing is also affected by shocks in both the dairy economy and international scenarios.

• All of these programs will reduce, but not eliminate, milk price volatility
• All three programs would reduce government expenditures (taxpayer dollars)
• Programs have slightly different impacts on the average All-Milk price received by farmers
• Programs have different impacts on Class III (cheese) and Class IV (Butter/Powder) prices
• Programs have different impacts on total product sales

He also discussed Agricultural Policy since 1996 and the Farm Bill. 2012 will be a key election year and the possibility of the Farm Bill being postponed until 2013 is a real possibility. There may be a stand-alone dairy bill that may be separate from the Farm Bill that could be passed earlier.

The third webinar was sponsored by Merial and their www.bestincalssdairies.com program. If you missed the webinar, it will be archived for viewing later this week at www.hoards.com/webinars. If you would like to register for our free monthly webinars, click on the link at www.hoards.com/webinars to sign up!