NMPF Update: 2019 Dairy Policy Outlook

As part of Wednesday morning’s session, Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer of National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), provided perspectives on policies affecting the dairy industry in 2019 and the progress NMPF made in 2018.

Jim opened the session with emphasis on the theme of community, noting that through collaboration was the best way to address issues in the dairy industry. Jim then reviewed several of NMPF’s accomplishments in the past year. 

“As difficult as 2018 was in the industry and in Washington,” he said, “we made some gains, which put us in a great position going forward.”

He discussed the new farm bill and what those updated premiums could mean for farms and provided general advice on the best coverage in the program. Jim also touched on immigration reform, with encouragement that this was a priority for NMPF and U.S. agriculture, but he expects to meet the same challenges as encountered in the past. With Secretary Tom Vilsack’s presentation from the previous day in mind, Jim did a brief overview of how NMPF and U.S. Dairy Export Council are a strong partnership working to address the trade policies impacting the dairy industry. 

Jim noted that NMPF successfully restored 1 percent milk to school programs, and new legislation has been introduced to allow schools to serve all types of milk. He explained that while it may seem a small issue, by getting milk back in the schools, they are creating the future generation of milk drinkers.

“As difficult as 2018 was in the industry and in Washington, we made some gains, which put us in a great position going forward.”
— Jim Mulher, president and chief executive officer of National Milk Producers Federation

He closed with commentary on the mislabeling of milk imitators, like almond and oat beverages, and how members have helped the cause by making their voice heard. As a community, he said, they were able to move forward and NMPF filed a petition laying out a prescriptive course for the Food and Drug Administration.

“It’s because of our unity we’ve been able to get the attention of Congress and the Food and Drug Administration,” said Jim.

Jim’s presentation was a reminder of what an impact the dairy industry can make when we join together as one, and he reaffirmed the belief in a brighter future.