WCMA Comments on USDA’s Recommended FMMO Decision

Posted By: Grace Atherton

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) today shared a statement following the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Recommended Decision regarding amendments to the uniform pricing formulas in all 11 Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMOs):

“USDA’s Recommended Decision acknowledges that make allowance formulas are inadequate, having not been updated in 16 years. The agency’s proposed adjustments are lower than dairy manufacturers requested to meet their costs of production, but provide some much-needed relief for processors challenged by inflationary pressures,” said WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer. “WCMA members acknowledge the effort of USDA leaders and staff in the hearing process, and we will continue to urge USDA to use sound industry cost data to announce make allowances in its final decision that reflect today’s higher costs to produce dairy products.”  

WCMA first appealed to the agency for make allowance adjustments in March of 2023 and has since actively engaged in FMMO reform discussions, including a 49-day national hearing held from August 23, 2023 to January 30, 2024, at which numerous WCMA members testified. WCMA’s final post-hearing brief is available online.

Publication of USDA’s recommended decision is expected in the Federal Register in the coming days, and the agency will then accept public comments. A final decision from USDA and a dairy producer vote on the order changes is anticipated before the end of 2024.