Officials with the Cooperative Working Together (CWT) program report that they have finished their on-farm visits of all dairies whose herd retirement bids were accepted. A herd in Wisconsin was the last farm to be audited, and that happened this week. However, herds in 40 states were accepted into the program.

In total, 299 herds — with 32,724 cows that represent 608 million pounds of production — are being retired as part of these efforts to reduce national milk supplies. The cows are now being sent to market, a process that will take several more weeks to complete.

Meanwhile, the Reduced Production Marketings (RPM) program — the other on-farm portion of the program — has entered its third week of operation. Officials say that the 77 bids that were accepted into the RPM program will reduce national milk supplies by 88 million pounds over the next year. Producers in this program are being compensated to reduce their milk production. The average production reduction is 17 percent per participating dairy.

The next step is for CWT to gear up for the third prong of its multi-dimensional mission. The Export Assistance program is designed to aid in the export of cheese and butter products to offer domestic market relief.

“We are now discussing when and how to activate the Export Assistance program of CWT, through which we will provide economic incentives for the export of cheese and butter in an effort to strengthen the prices of these commodities, which ultimately has a direct effect on the milk checks of dairy farmers,” says Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation. CWT will soon be determining at what point it makes economic sense for the organization to facilitate the export of cheese and butter.

For more information, go to the Web site at: