Cooperatives Working Together announced yesterday that it has tentatively accepted 194 bids as part of its latest (tenth) herd retirement. A total of 209 operations had submitted bids. The bids accepted represented 34,442 cows and 653,893,409 million pounds of milk.

Under provisions of this herd retirement round, bids were accepted up to a maximum of $3.75 per hundredweight of milk. For a cow producing 22,000 pounds of milk per year, the maximum payment would have been $825, in addition to the slaughter market value of the cow.

Starting next week, CWT farm auditors will begin visiting the farms whose bids were accepted, checking their milk production records, counting cows, and then tagging each cow for processing. All farmers will be notified no later than July 30 as to whether their bid was among those accepted in this herd retirement round, the tenth that CWT has conducted since 2003.

Once CWT auditors approve the herds accepted during the bid process, farmers have 15 days in which to send their animals to a processing plant. Producers whose bids are accepted in this herd retirement will be paid in two installments: 90 percent of the amount bid times the producer's 12 months of milk production when it is verified that all cows have gone to slaughter, and the remaining 10 percent plus interest at the end of 12 months following the farm audit, if both the producer and his dairy facility – whether owned or leased – do not become involved in the commercial production and marketing of milk during that period.

In CWT's three herd retirements conducted in 2009, the program removed a total of 200,000 cows and 4 billion pounds of milk. Since CWT's inception in 2003, the 10 herd retirement programs have involved 510,472 cows in 2,928 herds that produced the equivalent of 10 billion of pounds per year. Average size of participating herds over the 10 herd retirements has been 174 cows . . . close to the national average herd size of about 165 cows.