MADISON, WIS. – The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association announced its board of directors approved a set of proposals put together by a WCMA committee to improve and reform the federal milk pricing and pooling system.

The recommendations presented by the organization’s federal order reform committee, which has been working since early 2021, were approved during a recent special meeting.

The WCMA board endorsed six proposals regarding federal milk marketing order pricing provisions:

• Adoption of dynamic make allowances for milk price formulas which incorporate regular cost of processing audits and current-cost price adjustors.

• US Department of Agriculture collaboration with the dairy industry to address the volatility between block cheddar and barrel cheese prices used to value protein in Class 3 milk.

• USDA collaboration with the dairy industry to develop a new value for other solids in the Class 3 milk price formula.

• Maintain depooling and repooling provisions found in individual orders.

• Permanent adoption of the Dairy Forward Pricing Program in the upcoming Farm Bill.

• Expand funding for staffing and services provided by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

“Our board has endorsed our reform committee’s principle that federal milk orders should augment, not impede, the free market to assure strong market competition for farmers’ fresh milk and processors’ dairy products,” said WCMA president Steve Bechel, who also is president of Eau Galle Cheese in Durand, Wis.

Bechel said it is the WCMA’s opinion that federal milk orders should evolve to reflect US dairy products being made, as well as how and where they are sold – not only in the US, but also worldwide.

The WCMA’s committee encouraged the dairy industry and USDA to “embrace pre-hearing meetings and information sessions.”

Said WCMA executive director John Umhoefer: “Our goal is a healthy system of diverse dairy farms and dairy processors making delicious and nutritious dairy foods, venturing into new markets, and providing profitable and meaningful work for millions of Americans.”