The House passed, on an overwhelming 330-99 roll call on Wednesday, a bill that overrides USDA regulations to allow schools to serve whole milk as part of the school lunch program. “Let’s end the war on milk,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx, chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee.
A generation ago, California surpassed Wisconsin, "America's Dairyland," as the No. 1 milk-producing state, a shift that exemplified the growing prominence of dairy farms in the West and Southwest with huge herds producing a flood of milk. The competition is more equally balanced now, said an analysis on Monday. Milk production is roughly equal between the "traditional" dairy states of the Midwest and Northeast and the "modern" states.
Dairy farmers who were forced to dump milk during a natural disaster are eligible for up to $250,000 in compensation from the new Milk Loss Program, said the USDA on Monday. The program covers losses in 2020, 2021, and 2022 from droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms, freezes, and smoke exposure.
Overriding nutritional guidelines, the House Education Committee approved, 26-13, a bill to allow schools to serve whole milk as part of the school lunch program. "For too long, milk has been demonized," said sponsor Rep. Glenn Thompson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and a senior Republican on the Education panel.
Americans know the difference in origin between cow’s milk and plant-based milk, and they ought to be told when a dairy alternative has a different nutrient makeup, said the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday. Its proposal, for a statement on packages for many types of plant-based milks, satisfied neither side in the years-old argument over what can be called “milk.”
The Biden administration expanded a pandemic relief program for dairy farmers on Monday to cover up to 9 million pounds of milk produced during the second half of 2020, up from the original 5 million pounds. The Agriculture Department also announced a new assistance program for organic dairy farmers, who face sharply higher feed expenses.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is six months shy of its third anniversary and the United States already has requested a third set of bilateral consultations over its objections to Canada's dairy quota system. U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai announced the request on Tuesday, saying the government has identified additional aspects of Canadian import rules that violate its agreement to allow a larger volume of U.S. dairy imports.
Abnormally high feed costs, partly the result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, are ruining organic livestock producers and federal relief payments are vital to keep farmers in business, said organic trade groups and businesses. "A perfect storm of trade disruptions, international conflicts and acute drought conditions has created a situation no farmer could have planned for or foreseen," said the 13 groups in a letter to lawmakers released on Monday.
The first update to the federal milk marketing system in nearly a quarter-century "should improve price discovery, improve the clarity of the program, continue to support timely payments to producers and reduce price incentives to de-pool milk," said a dozen U.S. farm groups on Monday. The groups said they believed the USDA would call a hearing in 2023 to address price formulas used in the marketing system.
Organic agriculture groups challenged Danone North America on Monday to match the USDA commitment to support organic dairy farming in the Northeast. "We urge Danone to invest at least $20 million in this region, matching the USDA taxpayer investment to aid organic dairy farmers overcome this crisis," said six organic groups on the anniversary of Danone's decision to terminate contracts with 89 dairy farms in the region.
Once the world's largest dairy operator, Borden Dairy said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, aiming to reduce its debt load "and position the company for long-term success." The bankruptcy filing over the weekend in Delaware courts followed the November bankruptcy of Dean Foods, one of the largest U.S. milk processors.
When a dairy farm in New Mexico was shut down last year due to contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of chemicals that have been linked to reproductive and developmental problems as well as cancer, it revealed how little federal and state regulators know about the presence of these chemicals in our food supply, according to FERN's latest story, published with HuffPost. (No paywall)
Dairy farmers lament that the supermarket dairy case is packed with soy milk and almond milk as well as milk from cows. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency will update its definition of milk over the next year. "An almond doesn't lactate, I will confess," said Gottlieb at a Politico showcase.
More than fifty rural, agriculture, and labor organizations signed onto a letter demanding that Congress and the Department of Agriculture do more to support dairy farmers as low prices continue to threaten small and mid-size dairies across the country. The organizations include the National Family Farm Coalition, the Food Chain Workers Alliance, the Rural Coalition, Pesticide Action Network North America, and many others.
In a first for the dairy industry, the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s has signed an agreement to eventually buy all of its milk from Vermont dairies that uphold rigorous standards for treatment and pay of employees. The standards, known as Milk with Dignity, were devised by the workers themselves and based on the Fair Food Program established by tomato workers in Florida under the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW).
The insurance-like dairy subsidy created in the 2014 farm law has been roundly criticized as a failure by farmers and dairy-state lawmakers. The USDA signaled its agreement, telling producers they can opt out of the Margin Protection Program for 2018, rather than remaining locked into it while Congress writes a new farm bill.
On his sixth day on the job, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, in the name of regulatory flexibility and making school meals more attractive to students, gave schools the green light to serve chocolate milk again. A new study suggests, however, that over time, schoolchildren do not miss flavored milk all that much.
Butter prices are soaring in France, the home of the croissant, whose flaky crust and satisfying taste rely on the dairy product, reports the Guardian. "There is a real risk of butter running out," says the federation of French biscuit and cake makers.
One of the nation's best-selling brands of organic milk puts an oil derived from algae grown in a factory into some of its milk as a nutritional enhancement, says the Washington Post. "Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, the oil allows Horizon to advertise health benefits and charge a higher price," the paper said.