Farmers Deserve a Seat at the Table in Milk Pricing Policy

The American Farm Bureau Federation released its final report on priorities for milk pricing reform, calling for more democracy and a more equitable program for dairy farmers. A Farm Bureau Federal Milk Marketing Order Working Group worked for a year to examine the system and develop recommendations to modernize the current FMMO system. Among AFBF's priorities is amending the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act to allow dairy farmers to directly vote on Federal Milk Marketing Order issues. Currently, only dairy farmers who are independent and not members of cooperatives may cast individual ballots. Cooperatives may allow their members to vote independently, but then lose their ability to bloc vote on behalf of their non-participating members. AFBF supports allowing modified bloc-voting, which would allow co-op members to vote independently, while allowing cooperatives to cast ballots for farmers who choose not to cast an individual ballot. Other recommendations in the final report include expanding price discovery and examining alternative ways to price fluid milk and improve risk-sharing between farmers and processors.

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