National Milk Producers Federation President and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Kozak suggested that the dairy industry needs to chart a new course for the future in five key areas — including making major revisions to the organization’s policies on certain issues during his presentation at the organization’s 2008 annual meeting this week.
Immigration reform was the first area addressed, since “the issue of a stable and available workforce is of paramount importance to the dairy industry,” Kozak said.
Secondly, Kozak stressed the need to reform and revitalize the Federal Milk Marketing Order program. He proposed “replacing the make allowance structure with a competitive pay price that would allow processing plants to pay what they must for the milk they procure.”
Kozak’s third point was that the industry should consider alternatives to the Dairy Product Price Support and Milk Income Loss Contract programs. Instead of “fighting a rear-guard battle with these initiatives,” Kozak suggested that NMPF “should ask Congress to end both programs, and replace them with programs that will benefit the entire industry in a new global marketplace.”
Kozak did not advocate a complete lack of government regulation of dairy, but said that “the PSP and the MILC baseline funding should be replaced with tax incentives and other initiatives that will reward the use of new technologies and innovation.”
Kozak also said that “we should consider a feed-adjuster type mechanism, as part of a government-run margin protection program, similar to crop insurance, to help mitigate risk, and protect operating margins.”
Kozak’s fourth point was that the industry should take a more comprehensive approach to animal care and well-being and environmental initiatives. “Many people are concerned more and more about the environment, their own health, and the quality of the food they consume,” he said, with part of that concern stemming from a heightened interest in animal care.
To further NMPF’s resources in that area, Kozak said NMPF is assimilating the programs of the Dairy Quality Assurance Center in Iowa into a new national program available to all producers. Kozak also said NMPF’s members should start work on helping dairy farmers be well-positioned to take advantage of a growing carbon credit market that will develop when Congress passes a cap and trade system to control greenhouse gases.
Finally, Kozak addressed the need to maintain, adapt, and expand Cooperatives Working Together, the farmer-funded self-help program in it sixth year of operation.
To access a full copy of Kozak’s speech, go to:
National Milk Producers Federation