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Dairy farmer co-op introduces new plan aimed at stability

(WEAU)
Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Four dairy groups from the Midwest announced a Federal Milk Marketing proposal on April 27.

Th groups are the Dairy Business Association, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, Minnesota Milk and the Nebraska State Dairy Association.

Their proposal, named Class III Plus, is aimed at long-term stability and to help cover costs lost by dairy farmers last year due to COVID-19.

Class III Plus would build on the current system in place that affects the four classes of dairy products. In this plan, class 1(liquid milk) and class III (hard cheese), would be to together allowing for more fluidity in pricing.

The changes in pricing doesn’t just concern the farmers, but it affect consumers as well and what prices they will pay in stores for dairy products.

There was a call by cooperatives by individual in the National Milk Producers Federation for an emergency Federal Milk Marketing Orders hearing to propose improvements to a few items issues of the current pricing system. This mostly focused on the short-term fixes including the revenue that dairy farmers lost last year.

This co-op of Midwest dairy groups is working on getting the hearing granted, but they want to make sure their proposal is heard. The President of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative ,Brody Stapel, wants a hearing that is not limiting to be able to adequately address issues.

“Federal Milk Marketing Orders need to be reformed, but an extremely limited d hearing now, which NMPF is seeking, would destabilize the system rather than solve fundamental issues, which is our ultimate goal,” Stapel said.

If the hearing moves forward, members of the co-op like Nebraska State Dairy Associations Executive Director, Kris Bousquet, believe the Class III Plus plan will benefit dairy farmers beyond just the Midwest.

“This class three plus situation allows for our farmers to do just that and so we think that based off of the research that we’ve done and the information that we’ve gathered that this is the best path forward for speaking on Nebraska’s side the best for the Nebraska dairy farmer and if you look at it, it really is the one of the best options, is not the best option for the nation,” Bousquet said.

The plan would help farmers recover costs lost last year over a four-year period while working on keeping the system fair, locking in milk prices and helping farmers afford contracts.

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