Tag Archives: NMPF

ARLINGTON, VA – In less than a year, someone will take the presidential oath of office, charged with leading America for the following four years. To get there, whomever wins the 2020 election – a competition that starts in earnest with next week’s Iowa caucuses – will need to win over key constituencies, including farmers and rural voters.


This isn’t a revelation. So many articles have been written since 2016 taking the temperature of voters in Flyover Country that it may be difficult to find a farmer who hasn’t been interviewed by a coastal media outlet. But looking at the farm vote with a little more depth, it’s worth noting which farmers are best-positioned to hold the keys to the White House. Looking at the electoral map, those farmers may be the ones milking cows.


In 2020, dairy farmers find themselves unusually concentrated in states with large numbers of electoral votes, and in swing states, compared to producers of other agricultural commodities. A presidential candidate who wins the five biggest milk-producing states (California, Wisconsin, New York, Idaho and Texas) would gain 136 electoral votes, more than half the total needed to win the White House. Winning the top five growers of the most-valuable crops — corn and soybeans — in comparison, would only get 52 votes.


The top five cattle states garner 111 electoral votes. Top wheat states hold 28 electoral votes. Other ag products tend to be highly regional or have most of their production in a limited number of states.



Of course, barring an extreme shift in U.S. political coalitions, no candidate is likely to count California, Wisconsin, New York, Idaho and Texas in their win column on Nov. 3, so perhaps dairy’s large-state prominence isn’t relevant. After all, conventional wisdom holds that presidential contests are decided by swing states – the ones that aren’t deeply Democratic or Republican and might make the difference for a candidate.


So, how important is dairy in swing states?

Let’s look at two lists – the top eight U.S. dairy states, and the eight closest states in the 2016 presidential election. Notice anything? Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota – three states that flipped the White House to President Donald Trump in 2016, and another state that came very close – are all top dairy producers.


Dairy’s swing-state strength is the confluence of the industry’s history and America’s political evolution. Livestock and commodity crops were served by railroad networks that could transport the bounty of Midwest and Plains states to more heavily populated regions. Dairy, being more perishable, developed closer to urban areas. As U.S. politics has become increasingly polarized on urban-rural lines, dairy farmers find themselves living in states where big cities and small towns collide.


Dairy farmers live where the political battlegrounds are. They didn’t ask to be there, but if they’re potential difference-makers, it’s worth knowing what they want. Expanded exports are a start. A workable farm-labor system is needed to maintain productivity. Making sure that fake dairy products are properly labeled would go a long way toward ending consumer deception and warming a dairy farmer’s heart. And maybe a candidate could consider drinking a refreshing glass of whole milk at an event – it’s good for them, in many ways.


The next year will be exciting, and crucial for the direction of America. Dairy farmers will play an important role in this decision. We at NMPF already know how much dairy votes matter. Smart candidates will know that too.


ARLINGTON, VA – U.S. milk prices ended 2019 at their highest in five years. And while 2020 may see those gains cool off a bit, they should stay high enough for many producers to start recovering from the doldrums they faced in the second half of the 2010s.


“The bleeding of the past several years will probably stop, to some extent,” said Vitaliano, NMPF’s chief economist and creator of the Dairy Market Report, a monthly drill-down on what’s driving dairy markets. Still, producers must be vigilant to keep costs under control to stay competitive both domestically and internationally, given the cyclical nature of dairy prices, he said.


To listen to the full podcast, click here. To subscribe to the Dairy Market Report, go here. You can also find the Dairy Defined podcast on Spotify,  SoundCloud and Google Play. Broadcast outlets may use the MP3 file below. Please attribute information to NMPF.


(Note: NMPF’s Dairy Defined podcast explores today’s dairy farms and industry using high-quality data and podcast-style interviews to explain current dairy issues and dispel myths.)


ARLINGTON, VA – To help consumers find real dairy foods in an increasingly confusing retail marketplace, the National Milk Producers Federation today unveiled a completely redesigned website for the REAL® Seal, www.realseal.com, complete with a buyer’s guide that helps steer shoppers to those brands that feature the REAL Seal and use only real milk.


This is the first significant change in the online presence for the REAL Seal since NMPF first assumed management of the Seal in 2012. The new website will contain more content to educate consumers about why they should look for the REAL® Seal on the foods they buy, while also continuing to help those companies using the Seal to enhance their product marketing.


The new website will educate consumers about the REAL® Seal brand and the benefits of domestic dairy products, as only dairy foods made in America with American-produced cows’ milk are eligible to display the REAL® Seal. The site showcases certified brands and products, and makes it easier for users to learn where to purchase them in retail locations. It also streamlines the REAL® Seal application process to encourage more brands to apply for certification.


“NMPF continues to battle the misuse of dairy terms by plant-based products that seek to copy every aspect of real dairy, apart from nutrition,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “The REAL® Seal allows us to work with food marketers to apply a simple, highly-recognizable icon on their products to help consumers separate the real from the fake.”


The new website both educates consumers about how real dairy foods compare to imitators, and explains how the REAL Seal program delineates which brands can use the seal. The REAL Guide component of the website helps shoppers find certified brands and products displaying the Seal.



“We know many consumers want authentic foods made with quality and integrity. The dairy sector’s use of the REAL Seal, more than 40 years after it was created, is our ongoing commitment to help people define what’s real in the dairy case when they go shopping,” Mulhern said. “As people increasingly turn to online sources for information about their shopping options, this new site is an important part of that mission.” The website is part of the REAL Seal’s suite of digital tools, including its Facebook and Pinterest communities.