Special to the E-T

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Dairy farmer members and industry stakeholders convened in Clovis, N.M. last week for an industry update meeting hosted by Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.’s (DFA) Southwest Area. With more than 180 members, industry leaders, management and staff in attendance, the meeting explored the current state of the dairy industry and expectations for the future.

A major focus of the meeting was a panel discussion on production management and legislative issues. The session was moderated by Wayne Palla, chairman of DFA’s Southwest Area Council. Panelists included Jerry Kozak, president and chief executive officer for National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and John Wilson, senior vice president and chief fluid marketing officer for DFA.

For the past two years, DFA has been working closely with NMPF to develop dairy policy that would reduce volatility and give producers the tools they need to be profitable. Wilson opened the panel discussion with an overview of recent trends in milk price, feed costs, trade considerations and other factors influencing producers’ profitability.

Kozak provided an overview of Foundation for the Future, which he explained has been designed to secure “a more economically-viable future for dairy producers.” The package of proposed dairy policy programs focuses on margin protection, and also addresses equity loss, milk price fluctuation, and supply and demand imbalances domestically and globally.

Additional industry and DFA updates were delivered by:

• Rick Smith, president and chief executive officer of DFA, who offered his perspective on the state of the industry and presented an update on Cooperative initiatives

• Mark Korsmeyer, executive vice president for DFA and president of the Cooperative's Global Dairy Products Group (GDPG), who discussed GDPG's evolution

• Tom Gallagher, chief executive officer for Dairy Management Inc., who provided a summary of national promotion activities and programs

• Bob Engel, president and chief executive officer of CoBank, whose remarks focused on the economic outlook for the industry