DairyBusiness Update for March 6, 2013

Bill requires additional antibiotic, antimicrobial reporting

U.S. Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation requiring additional information on the amounts and uses of antibiotics and other antimicrobials given to food-producing animals. H.R. 820, the Delivering Antimicrobial Transparency in Animals (DATA) Act, would require drug manufacturers to obtain and provide information to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on how their antimicrobial drugs are used in the food-producing animals for which they are approved.  The bill also addresses data that FDA publicly releases.

Additionally, the DATA Act will require large-scale producers of poultry, swine, and livestock to submit data to FDA detailing the type and amount of antibiotics contained in the feed given to their animals.  The DATA Act requires FDA to coordinate with USDA to improve the collection of data on the use of antimicrobial drugs in or on food-producing animals.

A short summary of the bill is available online here.  A section-by-section is available online here.


Pennsylvania IOFC lower

Slightly higher feed costs and lower milk prices pushed Pennsylvania’s February 2013 milk income over feed costs (IOFC) down 9.4% from January, according to Penn State dairy economist Jim Dunn. It marks the third consecutive monthly decline, and is now down 21.1% from the November peak of $9.10/cow/day.

The February Pennsylvania all-milk price was down $1.00/cwt. (9.5%), at $20.40/cwt. The cost to feed a cow producing 65 lbs. of milk per day rose 9¢ (1.5%), to $6.10/day. Alfalfa hay (+5%) and soybean meal (+6%) price increases more than offset a 2% decline in average corn prices. As a result, the IOFC for a cow producing 65 lbs. of milk per day was $7.16, down 74¢ from January and the lowest since August 2012..

Measured another way, feed costs per hundredweight of milk produced averaged $9.39/cwt., up 14¢ from January. With the lower milk price, the milk margin over feed costs was $11.01/cwt., down $1.14 from January and also the lowest since August 2012.

Current trend: Feed costs per cow/day are the lowest since October 2012, but IOFC is the lowest since August 2012; both feed costs per cwt. and milk margin over feed costs are the lowest since September 2012. The Pennsylvania all-milk price is also the lowest since September 2012.

To read Dunn’s February 2013 Dairy Outlook, visit http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/j/w/jwd6/DairyOutlookmar%2013.pdf.


Consumer group opposes dairy sweetener proposal

SumOfUs.org, a global consumer advocacy organization, said nearly 90,000 consumers have joined its effort  opposing a proposal to allow non-nutritive sweeteners in milk and other dairy products.

On Feb. 20, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) opened a comment period on a petition – filed nearly four years ago by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and National Milk Producers Federation – seeking modification for milk and other dairy product standards to allow the use of non-nutritive sweeteners. IDFA and NMPF filed the petition in attempt to keep flavored milk and foods on school menus by cutting sugar and calorie content. In addition to milk, the petition asks FDA to modify the standards for 17 other dairy products at the same time for administrative efficiency. 

FDA’s comment period ends May 21. Visit www.idfa.org/files/resources/milk_petition_031009_w_examples.pdf.


USDA to issue electronic EU dairy health and transit export certificates

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will start issuing electronic health and transit certificates for dairy products exported to the European Union (EU) via the electronic trade document exchange system (eTDE).

With funds from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the content management system was created to support the domestic and international trade of U.S. agricultural products. Exporters can find information on how to register and access this system at http://www.ams.usda.gov/dygradingetde

AMS’ Dairy Grading Program will continue issuing paper health certificates for now, but expects to transition to the eDocs application system as early as the second quarter of 2013.

In 2012, AMS Dairy Programs issued export certificates to more than 100 countries. The certificates supported the export of nearly 3.3 billion lbs. of dairy products, valued at more than $4.1 billion.


Coalition opposes TPP trade deal

Congress should not approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal without carefully considering the impact on vulnerable U.S. dairy farms and workers, according to a coalition of 11 national organizations representing dairy farmers and dairy industry workers.

In a letter to key U.S. Senate and House leaders, the groups said the trade deal will damage family farmers, dairy processors and consumers. To make sure the U.S. dairy industry won’t be decimated by the TPP, the letter urges Congress to adopt new trade policymaking procedures rather than reinstating so-called “fast-track” authority.

“New market access for New Zealand’s monopolistic dairy sector would be especially damaging to U.S. dairy farmers and those who produce and process nonfat dry milk, butterfat or cheese,” the letter states.

TPP talks are currently underway in Singapore. The talks include negotiators from Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States and Vietnam.  Other Pacific Rim nations – notably Japan, the Philippines and Thailand – are considering joining the trade pact.

Organizations attaching their name to the letter were the National Dairy Producers Organization, National Family Farm Coalition, Family Farm Defenders, National Farmers Union, Citizens Trade Campaign, Food & Water Watch, League of Rural Voters, Federation of Southern Cooperatives /Land Assistance Fund, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural.