WFU President Urges Farmer Participation in FMMO Public Hearings
Wisconsin dairy farmers are going broke as farmers and processors alike dump milk due to oversupply. Wisconsin Farmers Union believes an overhaul of our milk pricing system is needed and that it is essential that farmer voices are front and center in these important conversations. We welcome the announcement by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service about public hearings on proposals to amend pricing formulas in the Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMOs).
WFU encourages dairy farmers to provide input and engage in the rulemaking process, which will kick off with an in-person national hearing August 23 in Carmel, Indiana. Opportunities to share testimony virtually will be offered on Fridays, starting September 1.
“The Federal Milk Market Order hearings are one important piece of the puzzle”, said WFU President Darin Von Ruden, a dairy farmer from Westby, WI, “At the same time we need to be cautious to not be lulled into contentment with small wins that won't ultimately lead to effective change. The underlying issue impacting dairy farmers' livelihood is unchecked overproduction. That’s why Farmers Union and our Dairy Together coalition will continue to organize for fairer prices and growth management through the Dairy Revitalization Plan in the lead-up to the farm bill. Farmers’ input on both FMMO reforms and the farm bill process are crucial if we are going to have a system that addresses ongoing farm loss and ensures a future for the generations that follow.”
WFU policy, established by its grassroots membership, supports “an overhaul of the Federal Milk Marketing Order system that would create greater market transparency and allow dairy farmers to capture more of the value in the dairy supply chain. Such reform could include alternative methods of price discovery, alternative product price formulas, limited de-pooling, and/or amending the milk pricing formula so that farmers’ pay price reflects a blend price of all cheeses, including specialty cheeses, rather than the Chicago Mercantile Exchange price of cheddar. Use of new information technology such as distributed ledger, digital twins, and machine learning should be considered as ways to improve price discovery and to set price formulas along the supply chain.”
Those wishing to present testimony must be pre-registered. Learn more and find proposals that are up for consideration here.