Dairy Defined

Dairy Defined

National Milk Producers Federation


September 18, 2023 6 mins

Even as the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) provides USDA officials with exhaustive research and expert analysis at its Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) Modernization hearing in Carmel, IN, the department is paying attention to what farmers have to say as they testify to support NMPF’s plan. That makes farmer participation critical to the hearing’s success, said Stephen Cain, NMPF’s Senior Director or Economic Research...

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The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act may have its best chance yet of passing Congress this year. But the potential return of whole and 2% percent options to school lunch menus is only one piece of the evolution of dairy’s role in federal nutrition policies, as two NMPF experts say in a Dairy Defined podcast released today.

“We’re in a pretty exciting spot right now for dairy and nutrition,” said Miquela Hanselman, NMPF’s manager for ...

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June 26, 2023 12 mins

hat’s in a name? Quite a lot. In dairy, a name defines a taste and experience. And that’s why European Union attempts to monopolize commonly understood cheese names poses a problem for consumers and cheese companies, as John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association in Madison explains in the latest Dairy Defined Podcast. 

“Our dairy farmers here in Wisconsin and other states, we can't go to Europe...

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Dairy’s future will be increasingly global and diverse, as emerging markets increase demand and women take on greater leadership roles in the industry, this year’s chairwoman of the NMPF Young Cooperators program said in a dairy defined podcast.

“The U.S. really had a competitive edge, as far as the quality and safety of the products,” said Lorilee Schultz, who milks 60 registered Holsteins and manages more than 200 acres at Mil-R-M...

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A record snowpack that’s far from fully melted, combined with last winter’s record rains, may mean it will be some time before Cory Vanderham, owner of Vanderham West Dairy in Corcoran, CA, will get his 4,500 cows all back to his farm.

In the meantime, he’s relying on leases in other locations, help from friends, and faith, to get through an ongoing disruption to the dairy industry in the nation’s top milk-producing state that creat...

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With Earth Day placing a spotlight on environmental stewardship, dairy cooperatives are a critical link in ensuring dairy-farmer leadership in meeting ambitious sustainability goals, said Lindsay Reames, executive vice president of sustainability and external relations for Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association. 

“Sustainability does have a number of different meanings, and I think the most important thing that...

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) unwillingness to limit dairy terms to true dairy products makes passage of the DAIRY PRIDE Act more necessary than ever, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-WI, said in a Dairy Defined podcast released today.

“They're going to continue to allow mislabeled imitation products to be on the market,” Baldwin said. “Wisconsin farmers work so hard to meet the FDA standards of nutrition and quality. They...

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February 18, 2023 21 mins

One year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, dairy cows are critical to keeping Kees Huizenga’s crop and livestock operation running as the war continues to bring hardship and suffering to the country and its agriculture.

When the war began, “I went to the people, to the old employees to talk to them and tell them not to panic and that we will all stay, and that we have to keep on running the farm and keep on feeding and milking the...

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Farming is a uniquely stressful occupation, and farmer mental-health needs tend to be underserved, said Loganville, WI dairy farmer Randy Roecker in the latest Dairy Defined podcast. Roecker, a board member for Foremost Farms USA, is a co-founder of the Farmer Angel Network, a Wisconsin organization that helps support farmers’ mental health needs. 

“A lot of farmers are very isolated and they don't get off the farm very much. T...

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Record milk prices seen in 2022 likely won’t repeat themselves, as production increases and consumers grapple with an economic slowdown, according to members of the NMPF and U.S. Dairy Export Council’s joint economics unit, in a Dairy Defined Podcast released today. But exports are on track to increase, and demand will likely be resilient as dairy remains must-have for buyers.

“Consumers around the world still gravitate towards dair...

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December 12, 2022 8 mins

Holiday giving season is under way, and NMPF's National Dairy Leadership Scholarship Program is a worthy beneficiary for anyone who cares about a better industry future, explains Nicole Ayache, who leads the program at NMPF, in the latest Dairy Defined podcast. The scholarship supports graduate students, enrolled in master's or doctoral programs, who are actively pursuing dairy related fields of research that directly ben...

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The International Dairy Federation (IDF) World Dairy Summit brings unique opportunities for U.S. dairy as the host nation for the Chicago event, to be held next Oct. 16-19. The global conference returns to the United States for the first time in three decades, at a moment when rising exports and world-leading sustainability gives the U.S. industry a great story to tell, according to three leaders in organizing next year’s events.


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Control of the House of Representatives remains in doubt nearly one week after last Tuesday’s elections. But regardless of who is in charge in 2023, dairy’s priorities will move forward, says Paul Bleiberg, NMPF’s Senior Vice President for Government Relations, in a Dairy Defined podcast. 

“The basic policy priorities remain the same,” said Bleiberg. “There are some areas where we might have more support from Republicans, some where...

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NMPF Chairman Randy Mooney, a dairy farmer outside Rogersville, MO, said the spirit of collaboration and facing challenges head on, embodied in the cooperative model, will give dairy strength in the years to come. He spoke on Oct. 25 at NMPF’s annual meeting in Denver. 

“This is an exciting time in our industry,” Mooney said. “What we do on our farms and in our communities is important, how we do it is important, and it's impor...

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To celebrate National Cooperative Month (and the centennial of the Capper-Volstead Act that underpins farm cooperatives to this day), Cooperative Hall of Fame Member Rich Stammer, former CEO of Agri-Mark, says the values of cooperatives remain important as new challenges to dairy farmers emerge. 

“As more and more people moved away from the farm, didn't know anything about farming, co-ops have played a bigger role in informing ...

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Water is front-of-mind for California dairy farmers, as scarcity is threatening to change the industry structure of the top U.S. dairy-producing state. While successful adjustments to a lower-water future are possible, the state badly needs moisture in the next few months to stave off greater immediate hardship for milk producers and improved government policy to help dairy prosper in the longer term, said Geoff Vanden Heuvel, dire...

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While “lab-based” dairy is touted by startups and investors, the very concept that dairy-protein replicas made in vats holds equal value for consumers is suspect, says Dr. John Lucey, professor of food science at the University of Wisconsin, in a Dairy Defined podcast released today.

“We have to separate out the fact there's a lot of marketing hype,” Lucey said. “The reality is, to produce these original structures like milk fa...

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The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is now law, but much more is needed to ensure reliable exports of U.S. dairy products to the overseas markets that represent the industry’s future, said Tony Rice, trade policy manager for NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council, in a Dairy Defined podcast released today. 

“Our international customers demand U.S. dairy products,” said Rice. “Our competitors, mostly the EU and New Zealand, they've sh...

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With initial hearings under way, dairy’s priorities in the 2023 Farm Bill are taking shape, NMPF Senior Vice President for Government Relations Paul Bleiberg said in an NMPF podcast.

“A lot of that stakeholder outreach is going on right now, both publicly in hearings and behind the scenes as well, as we all start to figure out what improvements do we need to see in the next Farm Bill,” Bleiberg said. “It's an important opportun...

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A commitment to a rural family life motivates work at Unc Brooke Farm, said Val Levine of Schaghticoke, NY, chairwoman of NMPF’s National Young Cooperators organization of younger dairy farmers, Levine said in a Dairy Defined podcast released today. Levine and her husband, members of the Agri-Mark cooperative, operate the 200-cow dairy near Schaghticoke, NY, along with numerous side businesses related to the farm.

 “We are a family ...

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