Farm Bureau endorses farmer voting on FMMO
The American Farm Bureau Federation has adopted a policy that dairy farmers who are members of cooperatives should be able to directly vote on Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) issues that impact milk prices, Farm Bureau’s Market Intel Service announced today.
“As the dairy industry begins to have more in-depth conversations about modernizing milk pricing and the antiquated Federal Milk Marketing Order system, it is important to examine how dairy farmers participate in the discussion,” Farm Bureau Chief Economist John Newton and economist Michael Nepveux wrote.
Newton and Nepveux explained that at present, “to modify a Federal Milk Marketing Order, at least two-thirds majority of the eligible producers voting in the referendum, or the eligible producers who supply more than two-thirds of the milk represented in the referendum, must vote in favor of the order as amended.” Independent producers who are not members of a cooperative cast individual ballots, while cooperatives vote in a bloc on behalf of all their members unless the co-ops forfeit their bloc vote, in which case all members of the cooperative vote independently and the cooperative may not vote for non-voting members.
Farm Bureau has proposed a system of modified bloc voting under which those dairy farmers who want to cast their own votes would be able to do that while the co-op would vote on behalf of all members who have not opted to cast an individual ballot.
“Modified bloc voting presents a compromise that provides producers the opportunity to vote, while allowing the cooperative to vote on behalf of the producers who agree with the cooperative’s position or who are not engaged enough in the issue to cast their own ballot,” Newton and Nepveux wrote.
–The Hagstrom Report
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