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ADC hears federal milk marketing woes during forum

A recent forum by the American Dairy Coalition explored ways to improve the Federal Milk Marketing Order for farmers and cooperatives.

Southern Illinois dairyman Frank Doll currently serves as the president of Prairie Farms and on the Illinois Milk Promotion Board.

“I’m just a farmer and I like to be able to read and understand my milk check quickly,” he says.

Doll is also a representative on the American Farm Bureau’s working group on dairy policy which he says is in favor of returning to a pricing formula using the “higher-of” calculation.

Dairy consultant Mike McCully with the McCully Group says competition should create the price of milk, not federal regulations like the current system.

“It’s very, very difficult to understand and it doesn’t need to be that way,” he says.

McCully says the federal milk marketing order was set up to regulate local fluid milk markets, not a global dairy market that the industry is part of today.

“The bigger problem is that there’s just not even Class I revenue being generated in some of these orders to make this system work,” he explains.

The American Dairy Coalition supports a temporary return of Class I pricing established in the 2014 Farm Bill until a USDA hearing can evaluate longer-term solutions, however, Ag Secretary Vilsack says the industry needs better consensus before he will call for a hearing.

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