Don’t expect another herd-retirement program to eliminate thousands of cows from the national herd this year.

That’s the word from Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. Speaking Wednesday at an industry event, Kozak said the Cooperatives Working Together program is still working to pay off the last buyout, and then needs to accumulate sufficient cash for the next buyout.  

Three rounds of herd-retirement under the CWT program have removed more than 147,000 cows since 2003.

  • 32,724 cows under round 1, yielding a 696-million-pound annual reduction in the nation’s milk supply.
  • 50,478 cows under round 2, yielding a 908-million-pound reduction.
  • 64,069 cows under round 3, yielding a 1.2-billion-pound reduction.

On July 1, the CWT assessment on participating producers will increase from 5 cents per hundredweight to 10 cents per hundredweight. The higher assessment is meant to address a surging milk supply and the prospect of lower milk prices.

Despite the higher assessment, Kozak says he is optimistic that CWT will maintain a 70-percent participation level, meaning that enough producers and co-ops stay on board that at least 70 percent of the nation’s milk supply is represented. Last December, officials said they had achieved a 74-percent compliance rate.