Last week in Orlando, Fla., National Dairy Farmers Federation (NMPF) President Randy Mooney spoke about the ongoing challenges dairy farmers face that are causing a lot of stress on the farm, including extremely restricted functioning. Despite the mountain of challenges, Mooney remains optimistic about the unity of the industry.
“I’ve been in the dairy business for a long time, through good times and bad, but there has never been a time when I haven’t laid my head on my pillow at night and haven’t been proud of what I accomplished on my farm,” Mooney said. “We feed families around the world with the unbeatable nutritional value of milk. »
Mooney was inspired that as an industry, farmers and professionals came together and united on a number of issues, including getting farmers to testify at the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) hearings conducted by the USDA, which began in August and will resume on November 27. after a temporary break.
“The producers who had the opportunity to tell the story made a difference,” he said, referring to the producers who testified at the FMMO hearings.
To pass the baton
NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern, who will retire at the end of this year after leading the organization for a decade, also took the stage at the joint annual meetings in Orlando, emphasizing that working on behalf of the country’s dairy producers and their cooperatives was the highlight of his professional career.
“I’ve tried to stay true to what I see as the hallmark of the dairy community: people who work hard, approach things with common sense and care passionately about the product they make,” Mulhern said . “You all strive to do what is right. And I can tell you, looking at the progress of my career, that these are qualities that can take you very far.
Mulhern emphasizes that he is optimistic about the future of the dairy industry and is proud to pass the baton to Greg Doud, former chief agriculture negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative. His efforts helped lead the U.S.-China “phase one” deal and the USMCA negotiations.
“Greg is no stranger to agriculture. He has an incredible pedigree. He knows inside politics and how Washington works. And he’s going to be a great leader for the future of this industry. I couldn’t be more excited for him to take over,” he said.
Also at the meeting, the NMPF Board of Directors approved the organization’s policy positions and elected new members. New directors elected and approved by NMPF delegates include Brad Bateman of Dairy Farmers of America and Rick Burkhamer of Foremost Farms. Burkhamer, who farms near Richland Center, Wis., was also named to the NMPF executive committee.
In addition to taking official federal policy positions, NMPF members also raised funds for the organization’s academic research grants and held their annual cheese and dairy competition in conjunction with the meeting.
The NMPF Cheese and Yogurt Competition President’s Award went to Prairie Farms Dairy for its cellar-aged Swiss cheese, produced in Faribault, Minnesota. Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery won the President’s Reserve Award for its Pepperoni with Marinara Rub produced in Menomonie, WI. This year’s competition included 252 entries from 14 participating NMPF cooperatives, for a total of 3,350 pounds of cheese and yogurt.