Wisconsin Farm Bureau President testifies at federal milk order hearing

Photo: Roger Cryan questions Kevin Krentz during USDA hearing on the Federal Milk Marketing Order system. courtesy of Cassie Sonnentag-Wisconsin Farm Bureau

Wisconsin’s Farm Bureau President says proposed changes to the Federal Milk Marketing Orders would go a long way to restoring balance to a system that has moved away from sustainably supporting producers. 

Kevin Krentz owns a 600-cow dairy farm near Berlin, Wisconsin.  Krentz says changes in the Class I mover have cost dairy farmers more than a billion dollars in revenue, which impacts the communities they live in. “I found that 62% of expenses on my farm are spent within a 15-mile radius of my farm. Multiply that by the six thousand dairy farms in Wisconsin and that’s heavily affected small communities across the state where those dollars are spent over and over.”

Krentz testified Thursday at the USDA hearing on federal orders and says Wisconsin Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation support reducing economic incentives for processors to depool milk. “In some cases, the manufacturers don’t pay into the pool, taking money out of the pockets of dairy farmers. Even when manufacturers do pay the full class price value to their depooled farmers, that creates winners and losers. Some farmers get more, some farmers get less for the same product.”

Krentz says negative producer price differentials and depooling create huge risks for farmers who try to protect their income with risk management, and some of those negative differentials reached nine dollars per hundredweight.  He says the negative PPDs cost his farm nearly 200 thousand dollars.

Farm Bureau also supports eliminating advance pricing for Class I milk and Class II skim milk,

Krentz testified Wisconsin has lost about two thousand dairy farms since the Class I mover changed from “higher of” Class III and IV to the “average of” in the 2018 Farm Bill. He says, “Without these reforms, we’ll continue to see small farms leave and greater consolidation in the industry.”

AUDIO: Kevin Krentz testimony at USDA’s hearing on the Federal Milk Marketing Orders 8/31/23 in Mt. Carmel, Indiana.

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