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American Farm Bureau
January 18, 2010
view of the fact that the American Farm Bureau (AFB) represents
a cross section of agriculture in the United States, its voice
is something of a barometer for policy decisions at the
AFB held its annual meeting January 9 – 13 at the Washington
State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle, Washington this
year. Delegates represented all fifty states before an audience,
which exceeded 5,000 attendees.
diversity of agriculture represented at the meeting and AFB
policy on the vast array of topics required a great deal of
time, patience and consideration to move forward in the better
interest of our country.
Finally, on Tuesday afternoon, the agenda came around to dairy
and everyone recognized the plight of US Dairy Farmers. Supply
Management came to a vote sending a clear message the
would not support a control over production, which prevents the
free market from working and effectively moves us towards
Socialism. The vote was 227 against, 83 in favor.
While on the one hand supply management was viewed as a form of
quota system with comparisons made to Canada and the Netherlands
there was strong interest in CWT programs. Discussion on a
mandatory CWT program resulted in a vote, favoring language that
states the AFB strongly encourages participation in CWT, but
does not endorse a mandatory program.
AFB supports an improved pricing mechanism for dairy, for making
the process more transparent, and for revision of Federal Milk
Marketing Orders (FMMOs).
There was discussion on the cost of production, which came to a
vote and recognized a need for the regional cost of production.
Lowering the Somatic Cell Count (SCC) to 400,000 was proposed by
Wisconsin, the proposal met quick opposition from the Southeast,
it was viewed as a competitive disadvantage due to heat and
humidity, the SCC remains unchanged.
While we recognize we did not gain everything we wanted, we have
identified a few tools to move the industry forward with a bit
more clarity. We remain optimistic and encouraged for a positive
De Groot, California