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What happened? What’s next? - FARM Animal Care Program 4.0 in effect in January

Progressive Dairy Editor Dave Natzke Published on 16 October 2019

You’re busy milking cows, topping off forage inventories and making sure your employees aren’t spending too much time managing their fantasy football teams. With that in mind, Progressive Dairy looks at issues in the news impacting you and your dairy business.

In recognition of your time, we’ll attempt to summarize recent events or actions making dairy headlines and reported in our weekly digital newsletter, Progressive Dairy Extra. Then we’ll try to put that news into perspective and briefly describe how it might affect you.




What happened?

In early September, the USDA published provisions and requirements for the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity and Milk Loss (WHIP-ML) program, which makes some U.S. dairy producers eligible for indemnity payments if they were forced to dump milk due to weather- or fire-related disasters.

WHIP-ML program payments for calendar years 2018 and 2019 will be made to eligible dairy operations for milk that was dumped or removed without compensation from the commercial milk market due to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms and wildfires.

What’s next?


Potential payments will be calculated using each operation’s milk production base multiplied by the number of days milk was lost or dumped.

Dairy operations which received a partial payment for milk that was dumped – through a marketing organization, insurance or other sources – are eligible for the fair market value of the milk that was not compensated, less any transportation and hauling fees and promotional fees.

Required information includes sales documents or monthly milk marketing statements for milk marketed during the claim period, information on the number of times per day the cows are milked and the approximate time of each milking, approximate time and how often the milk is picked up by the marketing organization, dates the milk loss or dumping occurred, the weather event that caused the milk loss, size of the geographic area affected by the disaster event, how the milk was removed, whether the milk was measured before removal, records of the milk removal and other noteworthy details of the disaster event, including photos.

Bottom line

If you think you’re eligible for WHIP-ML payments, contact your local USDA office. Applicants must submit a completed FSA-375 form and supply other information to their county USDA office no later than Feb. 1, 2020.

The USDA will only pay indemnity for a maximum of 30 days per disaster year. While the USDA adjusted gross income (AGI) limitations do not apply, the annual USDA payment cap of $125,000 does.



What happened?

In late September, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that a trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan had been reached. Under the agreement, U.S. agricultural exporters gain increased access to markets in Japan through the reduction of some import tariffs in stages, the immediate elimination of some tariffs, the elimination of some tariffs in stages, the establishment of preferential tariff rates through the creation of country-specific quotas and a reduction in Japan’s “mark-up” on specific products.

What’s next?

Good question, as specific details were light. We do know that for dairy, Japan’s import tariffs on cheese and whey – the only dairy products on the USDA list of affected commodities – are targeted for elimination in stages. In addition, import tariffs on U.S. beef will be reduced in stages. We don’t have specific timelines for “stages.”

About 37% of U.S. ag products imported by Japan in 2018 were already duty-free. Once the new agreement is approved and implemented, that jumps to about 90%, according to Denise Bode, partner with Michael Best Strategies.

The agreement won’t need congressional approval and can go into effect as soon as it is ratified by Japan’s legislature, Bode said. Tentative effective date is Jan. 1, 2020. The Trump administration said the agreement is the first phase of a more comprehensive agreement that will be negotiated with Japan.

Bottom line

While early reports indicate this deal does not fully achieve the same tariff rate reductions as those negotiated under the abandoned Trans-Pacific Partnership or the European Union-Japan deal, it should deliver benefits for exporters of cheese and whey.

According to U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) data, the U.S. exported $270 million in dairy products to Japan in 2018. Of that, cheese represented about $149 million (about 33,236 metric tons), all dry whey represented about $65 million (34,655 metric tons), and whey protein concentrate represented about $18 million (13,000 metric tons).

However, Japan’s separate trade agreements with the European Union and 11 other countries through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) had put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage. A 2019 USDEC study found that the U.S. risked losing $1.3 billion in dairy exports over a decade, costing dairy farmers $1.7 billion in farm income.


What happened?

In late September, the EPA announced research funding and initiated two proposed actions related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The EPA awarded Purdue University a $899,976 grant to develop methods to decrease PFAS concentrations in both municipal wastewater treatment plant effluent and sludge using nanofiltration followed by electrochemical oxidation.

In addition to the Purdue grant, EPA awarded seven other PFAS grants totaling approximately $6 million. While most of those research projects center on PFAS in landfills, two will look at processes to destroy the chemicals in groundwater or wastewater, sewage sludges and soils.

The two proposed actions were sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for benefit and cost analysis.

EPA’s first action is an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that would allow the public to provide input on adding PFAS to the “Toxics Release Inventory” toxic chemical list. The second action is a supplemental proposal to ensure that certain PFAS chemicals cannot be imported into the U.S. without EPA notification and review under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

What’s next?

All of the research projects are scheduled to conclude by July-August 2022. Once the proposed actions receive OMB interagency review and approval, they will advance to an official rulemaking process. The research and rulemaking actions are part of EPA’s PFAS Action Plan.

Bottom line

For information on PFAS-related concerns in the dairy industry, see story on page 29.


What happened?

The National Milk Producers Federation, with support from Dairy Management Inc., announced updates to animal care standards under the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Animal Care program.

Called the FARM Animal Care Program Version 4.0, the standards support closer farmer-veterinarian relationships, require continuing education for all employees and add a new standard for pain management when disbudding animals.

What’s next?

Significant changes go into effect beginning Jan. 1, 2020. They include:

  • If tail docking is found to have continued to occur, immediate action must be taken to cease the practice.

  • Standards that generate a Mandatory Corrective Action Plan – ranging from veterinarian engagement and herd health plan reviews, calf care, non-ambulatory animals, euthanasia and fitness to transport management practices, and disbudding prior to 8 weeks old – will need to be addressed within nine months of an evaluation.

Materials, including templates, FAQs, continuing education videos and other resource tools will be available to help producers meet the outlined standards.

Bottom line

FARM Animal Care Program standards and audits strive to provide full transparency of animal care practices as an assurance to buyers and consumers throughout the dairy product supply chain. FARM Animal Care is updated once every three years to ensure relevance to current industry best management practices and scientific research related to on-farm animal care.

Find the latest version and other information online ( Watch for additional details in upcoming issues of Progressive Dairy.  end mark