USDA amends Appalachian, Southeast and Florida FMMOs

USDA announced two final rules and a termination of a proceeding that permanently adopt amendments to the Appalachian, Southeast and Florida federal milk marketing orders.

These actions:

• establish a mileage rate factor using a fuel cost adjustor used in the transportation credit provisions of the Appalachian and Southeast orders;

• increase the maximum transportation credit assessment rate for both orders; establish a zero diversion limit standard on loads of milk requesting transportation credit;

• adjust the Class I pricing surface for the Appalachian, Florida and Southeast orders;

• adjust certain features of the diversion limit, touch-base and transportation credit provisions for the Appalachian and Southeast orders; and

• increase the maximum administrative assessment for the Appalachian, Florida and Southeast marketing orders.

These amendments were approved by producers in the three marketing orders. The amendments become effective on May 5.

USDA is also terminating a proceeding for two remaining proposals. Information about the final rules and the terminated proceeding will be published in the May 2 Federal Register.

For additional information about the decisions contact:


Appalachian: Harold H. Friedly

USDA/AMS/Dairy Programs

P.O. Box 91528

Louisville, KY 40291-0528

Tel. (502) 499-0040; e-mail:


Florida and Southeast: Patrick S. Clark

USDA/AMS/Dairy Programs

1550 North Brown Rd., Suite 120

Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Tel. (770) 682-2501; e-mail:


How does Virginia milk quality measure up?

By Christina S. Petersson-Wolfe, Ph.D., in collaboration with researchers on the Southeast Quality Milk Initiative

The quality of milk produced in the Southeast U.S., based on somatic cell count (SCC) and standard plate count (SPC), is consistently lower than the rest of the US. Reduced milk quality increases costs while decreasing revenues and efficiency.

The combined effect of these factors contributes to the declining dairy industry in the Southeast. Understanding factors that have the greatest impact on milk quality will provide a background for programs aimed at helping producers improve their operations and was the underlying basis for the establishment of the Southeast Quality Milk Initiative (SQMI).

Our overall goal is to enable dairy farmers to move toward production systems compatible with a sustainable industry. To accomplish this, we will integrate outreach, education and research initiatives focused on improved milk quality, lowered disease costs, and greater revenues on farm. As part of this process, we needed to establish the baseline status of milk quality at the start of the project on dairy operations in SQMI partner states of Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia. SCC and SPC bulk tank milk data for 2012 were evaluated from records maintained by state regulatory agencies. At least one SCC and SPC were collected each month from each dairy farm with a Grade A permit and data were summarized using the Timeseries procedure of SAS.

Most SPC samples (65% overall) had < 5,000 colony forming units (CFU)/ml and Virginia represented the most samples < 5,000 cfu/ml at 75.6%. Additionally, 82% of all samples and 92% of all samples from Virginia operations fell within the recommended range (< 10,000 CFU/ml).

The Southeast  SCC averaged 324,204 ± 174,083 cells/ml (mean ± SD). The annual mean SCC of individual states ranged from 279,603 ± 160,665 in Virginia to 417,146 ± 210,692 in Mississippi.

For herds enrolled in DHIA, which comprised 30%-44% of the total herds within a state, annual mean SCC was less. In Virginia, the mean SCC for herds enrolled on DHI was 19,000 cells/ml less than the overall average.