Cooperatives Working Together announced today that it has reached its goal of signing up a supermajority of the nation's milk supply for two years, which will enable the self-help program to focus on reducing the current devastating imbalance in milk supply and demand.
According to CWT officials, 67% of the nation's milk supply has now committed to pay the 10 cent per hundredweight membership assessment for a full two years, from Jan. 2009 through Dec. 2010, and more memberships are still being received that will further boost that figure. This membership investment will allow the farmer-run program to take actions to reduce dairy supplies.
"March is shaping up to be one of the toughest months ever for America's dairy farmers, given the painfully low milk price, combined with elevated input costs," said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF, which manages CWT. "But the good news is that CWT will continue to be engaged in efforts to improve the difficult economic situation that dairy producers are facing." Kozak said he's also optimistic that CWT membership will expand, as farmers recognize the program's importance to the dairy business.
Kozak said that both cooperatives and individual dairy farmers still may join CWT with a 24-month membership commitment, retroactive to January. Membership participation is required if a farmer wishes to participate in future herd retirement programs, he said.
Kozak said that CWT will not, consistent with its long-standing policy, disclose the precise dates when it will initiate future herd retirement activities, or any targets that the organization may have for how much milk or how many cows it will remove.