The National Milk Producers Federation announced a settlement agreement that would end a class-action lawsuit concerning the Herd Retirement Program that ended back in 2010.
The program was administered through the federation’s Cooperatives Working Together initiative. The settlement will safeguard ongoing efforts to aid U.S. dairy producers, lift a cloud over the industry that’s lasted years, and it allows NMPF member cooperatives and the current CWT program to move forward with more certainty.
The plaintiffs consisted of larger retailers and companies who directly buy butter and cheese from CWT member cooperatives. The settlement amount is $220 million in exchange for a release of all claims. Neither the NMPF nor any of its member cooperatives admit any wrongdoing as a result of the settlement. “There is no way to sugarcoat a settlement of this size, especially given that the Herd Retirement Program was a well-publicized effort designed to serve dairy producers in difficult times,” says Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the NMPF. “It was praised by two Secretaries of Agriculture and a number of the leading members of Congress.”
The plaintiffs sought damages relating to the Herd Retirement Program, which offered dairy farmers financial incentives to market their milking herds for beef. It operated between 2003 and 2010.
Markets closed early on Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. This year’s crop outcome-what will be harvested is about there-this could move the markets higher as reality sets in that all the crop won’t be out before 2020. How will this change the basis? Cash will win in the end. South American production-any issues heading into December. December 15th deadline looming with China-will they just continue to buy what they need? Corn exports saw some improvements this past week. Getting a final spike trade in the dairy industry. Still seeing some Chinese purchases for milk powder. Weeks snowstorms and upcoming weekend weather be of concern to the feeder cattle market?
ARLINGTON, VA – The National Milk Producers Federation thanked Senator Tammy Baldwin for her advocacy for public health and labeling transparency in her questions for Dr. Stephen Hahn during today’s hearing on his nomination to be commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“As the nation’s top health official, Dr. Hahn would face many challenging issues, labeling integrity high among them. It’s heartening to hear the nominee pledge that an FDA under his leadership will immediately examine this crucial unfinished business,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Given his stated commitment to science- and data-based decision-making and his concern for public nutrition, we expect FDA will soon begin enforcing its own standards – which clearly reserve dairy terms for real dairy products, not plant-based imposters who mislead consumers by mislabeling nutritionally inferior products. We thank Senator Baldwin for pressing for urgent action today as part of her ongoing efforts to resolve this health and nutrition issue.”
In response to a question from Sen. Baldwin asking him whether and when the FDA will begin enforcing its own labeling standards, Dr. Hahn voiced his support for “clear, transparent, and understandable labeling for the American people.
“The American people need this so that they can make the appropriate decisions for their health and for their nutrition. I very much will look into this issue,” Dr. Hahn said, later adding he would “look at this as soon as I am confirmed.” Video of Dr. Hahn’s exchange with Sen. Baldwin is here.
The National Milk Producers Federation, which has been speaking out on plant-based imitators for four decades, has been encouraged by recent, long overdue FDA attention to the issue. For more background on NMPF’s position and statements of support from public-health organizations, click here. NMPF also in February released a “road map,” found here, for how the agency can adapt existing standards to reflect the current marketplace and protect labeling integrity.
Hip hip, hooray! It’s the American Farm Bureau’s 100th birthday!
Join Alex and Rebel on this week’s edition of Friday Five, as they discuss trade with China, a major hit to the dairy industry, and more.