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Wednesday, December 12, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lauren Brey
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The voice of milk makes progress in 2018

From Edge & Michael Torrey Associates

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative has had a milestone year in 2018. Growth in membership, increased presence in Washington, D.C., and connecting with members at a variety of events kept the team busy.

A major accomplishment was Edge reaching No. 4 on the Hoard’s Dairyman Top 50 Co-ops list. Our members produced 10.14 billion pounds of milk in 2017. In Washington, the work was non-stop as numerous important issues faced by farmers took center stage, from low prices to labor. Our in-house government affairs staff, in addition to our team at Michael Torrey Associates in D.C., stayed busy. Below are highlights of our policy work during the year, just a snapshot of what we do to ensure your voice – the voice of milk – is heard where it counts.

The voice of milk in D.C.

  • Edge team has been building relationships with key administration officials and decisionmakers on Capitol Hill.
  • Ongoing D.C. updates for Edge members via email, newsletters and social media
  • Building relationships with national news media.

Ag workforce

  • Educating lawmakers and administration officials on the importance of creating a year-round workforce program for dairy farmers.
  • Continuing to add Ag and Legal Workforce Act cosponsors from districts where Edge members live and farm.
  • Partnering with national Ag Workforce Coalition.
  • Speaking out in the news media.

Farm bill 

  • Communicating priorities to House and Senate Ag committee members.  Emphasis on flexibility to ensure programs work for all types and sizes of dairy farms.
  • Hosted members-only webinar on farm bill process and changes in June 2018.

Trade – U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

  • Weighing in with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and USDA on importance of NAFTA and priorities for reauthorization.
  • Promoting free and fair trade on Capitol Hill.
  • Meetings with Mexico and Canada embassies to discuss the importance of our trading relationship.
  • Participating as part of broad coalitions with ag and manufacturing industry partners.
  • Speaking out in the news media.

FDA – Nutrition Innovation Strategy, dairy labeling, cultured meat

  • Testified and submitted comments for FDA’s public hearing on nutrition innovation strategy priorities, highlighting need to enforce dairy standard of identity.
  • Submitted comments on dairy vs plant-based labeling and helping members get involved.
  • Working to ensure our members’ input is heard in the cultured meat regulatory debate.
  • Speaking out in the news media.

2018 D.C. presence for members

  • Social media videos – six videos updating members from the Michael Torrey Associates team
  • Increased Edge’s outreach in D.C.
    • Dairy Speaks in D.C. – March 2018
      • Met with USDA Under Secretary Ibach
      • Facilitated 20 meetings with members on Capitol Hill
      • Took part in Agri-Pulse’s Ag and Food Policy Outlook Forum.
        • Board Treasurer Mitch Davis participated on a panel discussion on trade.
    • Two Edge members participated in the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives Young Cooperators Program, which gave them the chance to lobby on Capitol Hill for the first time.
    • Michael Torrey provided an in-person member update on policy work at our July Policy Picnics and World Dairy Expo.
    • John Holevoet visited the White House to discuss trade.

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