USA – The Dairy Farmers of America, a national milk marketing cooperative in the US, has withdrawn its membership from the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), a body that represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry.

According to DFA, the decision to withdraw following a proposal from IDFA, which initially focused on changing how ‘make allowances’, an estimate of the cost for dairy producers to process milk into dairy products, are configured.

In a statement announcing its decision to withdraw, DFA  appreciated the significant value that IDFA provides in supporting the dairy processing and manufacturing sector.

However, it described IDFA’s milk pricing proposal to the USDA as “divisive” and a “critical exception” to its generally neutral position on policies lacking full membership consensus.

“This has placed DFA in the untenable position of being represented as supporting a policy position, which contradicts what we believe to be in the best interests of our farmer-owners and the dairy industry,” DFA added.

“Following requests to return to a neutral policy position until a consensus position could be reached, DFA made the difficult decision to submit notice to withdraw from IDFA membership”.

On the other hand, a spokesman from IDFA said that efforts relating to federal order updates have been ongoing for more than a year, including engaging in an “extensive process” working with members across all segments of the industry.

In March, the company met twice with leadership from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) to seek consensus on priorities for Federal Order reform, but this was not achieved.

The IDFA spokesperson said that the organisation “cares deeply” about the industry’s future and ensuring its stability.

He added that the organization understands the pressure cooperatives are under relating to the challenge of balancing the interests of farmer-owners with their processing objectives.

“IDFA is a critical part of a growing dairy industry that is responding to rising demand from consumers here and abroad,” the spokesperson commented.

“We need to keep our eye on the ball and continue to deliver value for our full membership by supporting and cultivating that continued growth.”

He added that due to the diversity of IDFA’s membership, disagreements are expected and the organisation’s job is to be inclusive and balance diverse interests.

“We have been here before on federal order reform, and we are confident that we will come out of this stronger. We are confident that we are taking a balanced, inclusive approach that is in the best interest of the full dairy supply chain.” the spokesman said.

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