2013 Resolutions Package

The following 2013 Resolutions Package was approved by membership at the Annual Business Meeting on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 in St. Cloud, MN. 

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Additional State Legislative Concerns 

Additional State Regulatory Concerns

University of Minnesota/ MnSCU

Federal Legislative Concerns

General and/or Non-Governmental Issues

Minnesota Milk Producers Association is aware of the budget challenges facing the Administration and Legislature as the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 biennial budget is developed. In recognition of these budget challenges, Minnesota Milk Producers Association has carefully considered its priorities for the coming Session/budget cycle and seeks to work with the Administration and Legislators to maintain support for dairy programs at the highest possible level.


Resolution #1: Environmental Compliance, Permitting and Environmental Review

WHEREAS, well managed dairy operations provide significant natural resource benefits to Minnesota due to the substantial acreage committed to alfalfa and hay production which reduces soil erosion and the application of manure as a soil amendment and natural crop fertilizer in lieu of increased commercial fertilizers; and
WHEREAS, Minnesota dairy producers are committed to protecting our natural resources for the benefit of all citizens as well as the dairy producer’s well-being; and
WHEREAS, the viability of Minnesota’s dairy industry depends on reasonable and rational environmental regulatory processes for permitting, environmental review and compliance that do not reduce existing environmental protection standards; and
WHEREAS, the existing processes for permitting, environmental review and compliance in Minnesota present significant challenges for livestock producers, state and local officials, and citizens; and
WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the development of a permitting, environmental review and compliance framework which would provide greater certainty with respect to permit and compliance requirements and timelines; and
WHEREAS, activist attorneys and/or special interest groups are misleading and influencing townships to adopt arbitrary and capricious zoning ordinances that conflict with federal, state and county permits, ordinances and other regulations which ultimately threatens Minnesota animal agriculture; and
WHEREAS, the Governor has issued an Executive Order calling on the Environmental Quality Board to convene an Environmental Congress to engage interested parties in an effort to improve the state permitting and environmental review processes.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the establishment of a permitting and environmental review process that provides producers and state and local officials with clarity, consistency and timeliness.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports existing environmental compliance standards – MinnFARM standards for non-CAFOs and zero discharge standards for CAFOs.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports ordinances and regulations based on sound science and current technology and an environmental review process which ensures that Minnesota dairy producers are not put at a disadvantage compared to producers in other states.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association urges State, County and Township officials to join the Association in developing proposals to reform the current process.

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Resolution #2: Competitive Sales Tax Policy

WHEREAS, the dairy industry is a major employer and economic engine for Greater Minnesota; and
WHEREAS, dairy producers need to remain competitive in a national market; and
WHEREAS, Minnesota dairy producers are incurring significant costs relative to their counterparts in neighboring states as they pay state sales tax on equipment and building materials to expand or improve operations.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports sales tax exemption for materials purchased for new construction or renovation of barns, storage facilities and milking parlors in order to improve Minnesota milk producers’ competitive position in the national dairy marketplace.
 

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Resolution #3: Competitive Overtime Pay Policy

WHEREAS, Minnesota milk producers are operating in an increasingly competitive national market; and
WHEREAS, Minnesota’s neighboring states of Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota all recognize and implement the federal farm exemption for overtime payment; and
WHEREAS, Minnesota farm operations currently pay a stepped-up minimum wage established in state law for agricultural operations; and
WHEREAS, employers and workers have developed mutually beneficial work schedules using Minnesota’s relatively higher hourly wage rates.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers supports legislation which would place Minnesota on par with neighboring states by ensuring that the federal agriculture exemption for overtime pay is the legal standard established in the state.

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Resolution #4: Livestock Investment Grant Program and Access to Capital

WHEREAS, private sector investment in dairy farm modernization in Minnesota has not kept pace with investments made by dairy operations in other parts of the nation; and
WHEREAS, the capitalization of the Livestock Investment Grant Program will encourage investment by family farmers in Minnesota’s dairy industry; and
WHEREAS, modernization and expansion of the industry is necessary in order for Minnesota dairy farmers to compete economically with milk producers in other states; and
WHEREAS, many Minnesota dairy farmers lack access to sufficient capital to make the kinds of investments needed to modernize or expand their dairy operations.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports state funding of the Livestock Investment Grant Program in the amount of at least $10 million per year in order to facilitate modernization of our dairy industry.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports maintaining time limited agricultural appropriations, such as ethanol subsidy payments for future agricultural programs by redirecting funds through the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI Fund), to provide capital to allow Minnesota dairy producers the opportunity to modernize and expand their operations.

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Resolution #5: Dairy Research, Teaching and Consumer Education Center

WHEREAS, University of Minnesota research has been a building block for production agriculture in the State; and
WHEREAS, the Minnesota State Colleges and University system, especially the dairy program at Ridgewater College does an outstanding job of preparing students for a career in dairy production in spite of inadequate teaching facilities; and
WHEREAS, the Dairy Research, Teaching and Consumer Education Authority will foster cooperation between the University of Minnesota and the dairy industry to enhance research capabilities and improve productivity and profitability for Minnesota dairies; and
WHEREAS, the Authority and the Center it establishes will prepare the next generation of dairy operators for business success using environmentally sound practices, improved animal care and enhanced product quality and use; and
WHEREAS, the Center will provide a means to inform consumers of the health benefits of current and newly developed dairy products.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association will support the work of the Dairy Research, Teaching and Consumer Education Authority Board by recommending the appointment of Milk Producer members to the Board.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports pre-design funding for the Dairy Research, Teaching and Consumer Education Center through an allocation of state general obligation bond proceeds in the 2013 or 2014 Bonding Bill.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the allocation of state bond proceeds and/or general fund appropriations (along with non-state funding contributions) to plan, develop, construct and operate a Dairy Research Training and Consumer Education Center within the state of Minnesota. 

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Resolution #6: Raw Milk Sales Public Health and Safety

WHEREAS, milk is an important part of a healthy diet for most Americans; and
WHEREAS, milk is made safe by virtue of certain long established processes including dairy inspections and pasteurization; and
WHEREAS, current state law limits the sale of unpasteurized (raw) milk to on-farm sales; and
WHEREAS, the State District Court decision in the Schlangen milk marketing case may result in greater availability of raw milk to consumers; and
WHEREAS, consumers will face increased health risks due to greater availability of raw milk.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports strong dairy inspection programs and continuation of the current limitations on the sale of raw milk.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that Minnesota dairy interests, including the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and cooperative organizations strongly oppose the method of marketing raw milk which was employed in the Schlangen case.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association will work with other dairy industry interests to strengthen and clarify state law to limit the availability of raw milk to on-farm sales.

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Resolution #7: Healthy Choices in Schools

WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association believes that the State of Minnesota should support a healthy school environment which improves access to foods which contribute to a healthy diet, such as high quality whole milk, and limits access to those which do not; and
WHEREAS, the availability of high quality milk through various venues in our schools is key to supporting healthy dietary choices; and
WHEREAS, flavored milk is the healthy option for students to choose as a snack or with their lunch, and
WHEREAS, dairy options, including flavored milk, provide students with important nutrients including calcium and Vitamins A and D; and
WHEREAS, recently implemented federal school lunch guidelines establish lower limits on caloric intake for students from school lunch programs; and
WHEREAS, the new guidelines are generating complaints from active students and their parents about the adequacy of the modified guidelines in meeting the nutritional needs of at least some children.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the State of Minnesota encourage the presentation of healthy beverages including high quality milk and flavored milk, at competitive prices, in the school lunch line, alongside other healthy beverages sold in school vending machines or school stores throughout the state.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that every effort be made to present milk products in the most desirable packaging and at the most desirable temperature in school settings.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association will work with other dairy industry interests to reach out to school nutritionists and food service professionals to encourage the expanded availability of dairy products, including flavored milk, in a healthy meals program.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the adjustment to federal school lunch guidelines to allow for additional offerings of milk and other dairy products to meet the caloric/nutritional needs of active students. .

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Resolution #8: Dairy Development and Profitability Enhancement (DDPEP)

WHEREAS, the Minnesota Dairy Initiative (MDI) has been the primary focus of the Dairy Development and Profitability Enhancement programs (DDPEP); and
WHEREAS, MDI has focused on the delivery of technical and financial services to Minnesota dairy farms; and
WHEREAS, the public investment in MDI helps to retain existing farms and support their ability to modernize and expand; and
WHEREAS, DDPEP has consistently provided at least a 5 to 1 (or more) return on the state’s investment thereby adding significant value to the states three billion dollar dairy industry while serving the producers of the state; and
WHEREAS, greater flexibility with respect to the administration of state Dairy Development and Profitability Enhancement Program would authorize the use of state funds for dairy training and research programs.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the continuation of funding for the Dairy Development and Profitability Enhancement program.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association also supports maintaining funding for the on-farm component of the program (dairy profitability teams) to continue to serve the individual needs of program participants by addressing management issues which prevent participants from achieving their individual business goals.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the program be modified to provide greater flexibility to allow funds to be used to continue MDI activities and/or fund dairy training and research activities.

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Resolution #9: Health Care Accessibility and Affordability

WHEREAS, the cost of health insurance premiums are rising dramatically each year; and
WHEREAS, hundreds of Minnesota farm families cannot afford health insurance coverage and are not eligible for MinnesotaCare; and
WHEREAS, a Co-op Care Program which has been implemented in Wisconsin provides health care coverage to many Wisconsin farm families; and
WHEREAS, it may be possible to establish a Co-op Care Program in Minnesota by means of administrative rule changes authorized under current state law; and
WHEREAS, health care reform measures may also provide a framework for developing affordable health care coverage for Minnesota farm families.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association urges both State and Federal officials to implement health care purchasing pools to provide broader access to affordable health insurance coverage, including state support for the implementation of a Minnesota Co-op Care Program.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association contact the Commissioner of Commerce to indicate support for affordable health care alternatives for farm families such as the Co-op Care Program which has been developed by the Cooperative Network.

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Resolution #10: Board of Water Soil Resources Cost Share Program*

WHEREAS, all Minnesota dairy producers over 1,000 animal units are already in compliance with state feedlot rules and all producers under 300 animal units must have sought to come into compliance with the state’s feedlot rules, and
WHEREAS, the expense of coming into compliance should not be borne by dairy producers alone since improving our natural resources is a benefit to all citizens and the cost of compliance adds uncompetitive production costs to the smaller-scale dairy farmer; and
WHEREAS, the state established the cost share program to assist farmers in making investments in facilities and practices to bring dairy operations into compliance with the feedlot rules, and
WHEREAS, Minnesota’s Feedlot Water Quality Grant cost share program is administered by the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR); and
WHEREAS, the Legislature appropriated $1,560,000 per year for Fiscal Year 2012 and Fiscal Year 2013 for the BWSR Program which provides Feedlot Water Quality Grants for feedlots under 300 animal units; and
WHEREAS, BWSR targeted $2,000,000 of Fiscal Year 2012 Clean Water Grant Program Funds to Feedlot Water Quality Grants.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association urges the state to maintain, at a minimum, current levels of funding to allow feedlot operators to come into compliance with state feedlot rules.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the state determine the number and location of dairy operators who are yet to come into compliance with the feedlot rules.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association and State officials work together to facilitate compliance of dairy producers on a realistic timeframe.

*This is not a general fund appropriation.

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Resolution #11: Renewable Energy – Federal and State Policies and Incentives

WHEREAS, Minnesota dairies can become significant contributors to our energy supply and to energy self-sufficiency through the continued development and implementation of methane digester technologies that produce bio-gas, electricity and heat from livestock manure.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the expansion of the state alternative energy production incentive for methane digesters and small scale wind developments.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports policies and programs that encourage the development and utilization of all sources of ag-based renewable energy resources, including ethanol and biodiesel, that help free us from dependence on fossil fuels.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association urges the State to establish minimum standards for utility renewable energy production and pricing for net-metering of power which more accurately reflects the cost of generation of power from renewable sources such as on-farm digesters.

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Resolution #12: Livestock Environmental Quality Assurance (LEQA)

WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association and project partners (MPCA, MDA, BWSR, NRCS, and others) developed and implemented the Livestock Environmental Quality Assurance (LEQA) program; and
WHEREAS, the LEQA program helped dairy producers achieve environmental quality standards on their farm that go beyond compliance and help assure the public and government regulators that Five Star Dairies represent “Excellence in Environmental Stewardship”; and
WHEREAS, the LEQA program is no longer receiving state financial report; and
WHEREAS, dairy producers continue to be in need of technical and financial assistance to ensure their compliance with environmental standards.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the development of voluntary programs to demonstrate environmentally sustainable dairy operations.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that environmental assurance programs for dairy operators be integrated with other state and federal programs to increase producer participation, leverage multiple funding sources and enhance the overall effectiveness of program outcomes.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the state establish a cost-share mechanism to revitalize environmental quality assurance efforts by Minnesota’s milk producers.

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Resoution #13: Wind Development Lease and Setback Requirements

WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the orderly and safe development of renewable energy; and
WHEREAS, some developers are presenting lease documents to landowners which are open-ended as to the wind project development timeframe and contain language which would provide interests in the leased property which are more extensive than what is needed to construct a wind project; and
WHEREAS, some developers are not adhering to manufacturer recommended setbacks for wind turbines; and
WHEREAS, stray voltage can be a problem for dairy farms.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports a time limit on wind project lease terms of seven years, by which time a project must have commenced construction or the lease is void, requiring that a new lease be negotiated and executed.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that wind project leases must be limited to real estate interests which are necessary to develop a wind project.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that state site permit standards for wind turbine setbacks be reviewed and modified to reflect at least current manufacturer setback distances.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that wind developers conduct independent pre and post-development testing for stray voltage for dairy farms located with a wind project footprint

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Resolution #14: State Support for Dairy Research and Market Development

WHEREAS, research and market development improves processor efficiencies and increases consumption of dairy products; and
WHEREAS, state assistance for research and market development for Minnesota’s dairy processing sector will provide job growth and dairy producer sustainability.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association urges support for research and market development from the state through the University of Minnesota, the Agriculture Utilization Research Institute and other entities, including check-off organizations, to grow a vibrant and diverse Minnesota dairy industry.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association will work with these existing dairy research and market development institutions to ensure coordination and cooperation with research undertaken by the emerging Dairy Research, Teaching and Consumer Education Center.

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Resolution #15: Johne's Disease

WHEREAS, Johne's Disease is a threat and can be detected through testing.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association requests that the state and federal governments provide cost-share funding for the cost of a voluntary testing program with the goal of establishing Minnesota as a Johne's-free state.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the state of Minnesota continue the Johne’s testing program.

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Resolution #16: Impaired Waters and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)

WHEREAS, Minnesota dairy farmers and other agriculture producers are one of the primary stewards of the waters of our state; and
WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports having all waters of the state designated as to their use and a determination made with respect to natural, background, and/or legacy levels of impairments which contribute to TMDLs; and
WHEREAS, Minnesota dairy producers propose to actively participate in the TMDL process and the establishment of an equitable fee structure to implement TMDL remedies; and
WHEREAS, the Livestock Environmental Quality Assurance (LEQA) or like-type program can be utilized to coordinate environmental responses by various government agencies.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the Minnesota Agriculture Water Resources Coalition, a formal coalition of farm organizations whose focus is to bring farmers input to the Impaired Waters and TMDL discussion and to help non agriculture producers gain a better understanding of existing practices utilized to protect the waters of our state.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the LEQA or like-type program be integrated into the restoration phase of TMDL studies including decisions regarding the distribution of resources to address TMDL standards.

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Resolution #17: Inspection Fees and Animal Identification

WHEREAS, dairy inspections and animal identification benefit the consuming public by ensuring safety of food products; and
WHEREAS, animal identification also assists in the management of the dairy operation.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that any additional increase in inspection fees or additional mandated animal identification costs be borne by consumers.

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Resolution #18: Corporate Ownership of Farmland

WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association believes that local, private ownership of farmland is necessary for building and maintaining healthy communities; and
WHEREAS, absentee ownership by corporations does not contribute to maintaining healthy communities; and
WHEREAS, certain business structures such as limited liability companies, farm producer corporations or other networking structures for producers to work together attract outside capital and spread risk to afford the opportunity for locally owned, farmer managed, dairies to succeed.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the current corporate farm law provisions.

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Resolution #19: Veterinary Education and Veterinarian Loan Forgiveness

WHEREAS, the long-term sustainability of Minnesota’s dairy industry depends upon having a sufficient number of veterinarians trained in the care of animals in production agriculture; and
WHEREAS, partnerships with existing dairy operations which provide opportunities for veterinary students to receive hands-on experience are a practical way to provide training opportunities for veterinarians; and
WHEREAS, the cost of pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine is placing pressure on veterinary students to pursue alternatives to work in animal agriculture.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, the School of Veterinary Medicine should work closely with large scale dairy operations to maintain facilities and programs which allow practical, hands-on experience for veterinary students to work with animals in production agriculture.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that funds be appropriated to provide loan forgiveness for graduates of the School of Veterinarian Medicine who practice in Minnesota in the area of food animal agriculture for a period of at least five years following their graduation from the School of Veterinary Medicine.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports federal funding for the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine National Center for Dairy Veterinary Education as a National Center of Excellence in Dairy Veterinary Medical Education as authorized by the Federal Farm Bill.

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Resolution #20: Support for University of Minnesota and MnSCU Programs

WHEREAS, the University of Minnesota Land Grant College provides Minnesota Citizens an opportunity for continuing education through the University of Minnesota Extension ; and
WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association has partnered with Extension in the development and hosting of this convention and other educational events; and
WHEREAS, the Adult Farm Business Management program within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) system provides crucial business management support to dairy producers and the Ridgewater College program provides youth with education for dairy production careers.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Associations urges the Extension to increase animal production agriculture staffing in the University of Minnesota.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association urges counties to support the satellite offices of the Extension.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association urges continued support for the Ridgewater College and the Adult Farm Business Management program within MNSCU.

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Resolution #21: Federal Farm Program

WHEREAS, the Minnesota milk producers supports stability and certainty for dairy producers through the enactment of a Multi-Year Farm Bill; and
WHEREAS, dairy provisions in a Federal Farm Bill must provide a fair and reasonable safety net for dairy producers; and
WHEREAS, dairy products should continue to be a primary food source in all USDA food assistance programs, and
WHEREAS, alfalfa and other grass-based forages have a positive impact on the environment; and
WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association recognizes that there are limited resources to be directed to provide market stability for dairy producers.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association urges Congress to enact a Multi-Year Federal Farm Bill with no supply management component to provide stability and certainty for dairy producers.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that future farm policy should eliminate the penalty which farmers experience in moving cropland to alfalfa or other grass-based forages.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that national dairy policy should encourage domestic and export market growth and consumption of dairy products.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports revisions in the Federal Milk Marketing Orders to promote a pricing system that compensates producers fairly, and creates a more dynamic industry by moving away from end-product pricing formulas and make allowances.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that federal funding for dairy safety net programs should be administered so as to stabilize the economic performance of dairy producers.

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Resolution #22: Fair Milk Price

WHEREAS, profitability continues to be a significant problem facing dairy producers; and
WHEREAS, there is a significant spread between the retail price of milk and the farm gate price for milk.
WHEREAS, certain processors are capturing significant margins in the market by means of labeling practices which imply that safe and approved animal treatment technologies are not perfectly safe.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that state and federal policymakers and dairy operators' milk processing partners work to secure a greater proportion of the milk price for milk producers.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the state prohibit unfair or inaccurate labeling practices which increase cost to consumers without providing price benefit to producers.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports establishment of a national system to verify cold storage reports.

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Resolution #23: Truth in Labeling for Dairy Products

WHEREAS, liquid extracted from grains, seeds, beans or leaves of various plants are being processed and marketed as “milk”; and
WHEREAS, these imitation dairy products are not nutritionally the same as real milk; and
WHEREAS, the labeling and placement of these products in the marketplace serve to confuse consumers regarding the relative benefits of these products; and
WHEREAS, it is a longstanding public policy to ensure that consumers receive accurate information regarding products they are purchasing for consumption.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the term “milk” be reserved for foods that come from mammals.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that non-dairy products be labeled with information to ensure that consumers understand that imitation dairy products do not contain the same nutrient value as real milk.

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Resolution #24: New and Existing Technologies and Products

WHEREAS, new and existing technologies and products continue to be researched by Universities and private institutions to improve the safe production of foods including milk; and
WHEREAS, the consumers are assured of the safety and quality of the food supply by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other responsible governmental agencies; and
WHEREAS, dairy producers are committed to the production of quality, safe milk, excellent care of their animals and the sustainable use of our natural resources.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the use of new and existing technologies and products by dairy producers when approved by the responsible governmental agencies.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association urges processors and marketers of milk to refrain from misleading claims about the safety and quality of milk.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that any attempt to disseminate misleading consumer messages denies dairy producers the freedom to produce and market a quality product.

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Resolution #25: Fluid Milk Standards

WHEREAS, the current fluid milk solid standards are inadequate.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports raising the solids standards for fluid milk at least equal to the level of fresh milk from the farm and consider adopting California standards nationwide.

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Resolution #26: Import Quality and Safety and Export Standards

WHEREAS, imported dairy products may not be inspected as stringently as are U.S. dairy products; and
WHEREAS, an inadequate inspection system may constitute a bio-security risk; and
WHEREAS, the movement of dairy products in international commerce calls for efforts to ensure that U.S. milk complies with certain minimal production standards; and
WHEREAS, international trade in dairy products should be governed by fair, reciprocal product standards.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports federal legislation to increase inspection of imports, enhance tracking, and to ensure that imported products adhere to the same regulations as U.S. products.

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Resolution #27: Trade Policies

WHEREAS, International trade policies have a significant impact on Minnesota dairy producers.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association board of directors contact Administration officials to support the development of national trade policies which safeguard U.S. dairy production and economics.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we specifically oppose including dairy in the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement. Such action would result in superseding existing bilateral agreements, such as the U.S./Australia FTA, and open the U.S. market for increased imports of dairy products without gaining any increased market access for U.S. exports.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the goal of U.S. trade policy and future trade agreements should be to expand access to profitable markets for exports of U.S. dairy and other agricultural products.

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Resolution #28: Immigration

WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association understands the importance of reforming federal immigration policy for the dairy industry; and
WHEREAS, Minnesota Milk Producers Association has been working with Minnesota’s Congressional delegation on a reform package that protects Minnesota’s dairy families, their employees and their animals; and
WHEREAS, the National Farm Bureau has undertaken efforts to develop solutions for dairy operations that employ immigrant workers.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that immigration reform should be handled at the Federal level and not by individual states.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports a comprehensive immigration reform plan and establishment of a guest worker program to address immediate worker needs.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports implementation of the “AG Card” and Temporary Worker Visa proposals developed by Farm Bureau.

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Resolution #29: Climate Change and Clean Air Act

WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association recognizes the climate is changing; and
WHEREAS, factors impacting climate change are worldwide in scope; and
WHEREAS, the dairy industry’s carbon footprint per pound of milk produced has been shrinking since 1944; and
WHEREAS, there is little or no conclusive scientific evidence indicating that particulate matter from farm operations adversely affects public health.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association urges policy aimed at impacting climate change be resolved on a national and international level.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association calls for the adoption of environmental regulations based on sound science and by means of a transparent process, and that regulations be administered in a practical manner so as to prevent undue hardship for dairy farmers.

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Resolution #30: Risk Management Tools for Milk Producers

WHEREAS, Minnesota Milk Producers require access to improved tools to help them manage the risks inherent in modern agriculture, including adverse weather and severe market fluctuations; and
WHEREAS, dairy producers who do not have access to adequate risk management tools will struggle to obtain financing for their dairy operations.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the development and implementation of strong risk management tools to protect the financial viability of dairy operations.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports efforts to educate producers regarding the availability and efficacy of utilizing federal risk management programs.

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Resolution #31: Estate Tax Exemption and Tax Rate

WHEREAS, state tax law has significant impact on succession planning for dairy operations; and
WHERAS, the current federal estate tax exemption and tax rate provide a reasonable framework for the tax treatment of a descendant’s assets.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the continuation of the current federal estate tax exemption and tax rate.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports indexing the level of exemption for inflation and continuation of stepped-up bases and provisions for spousal portability in order to provide long-term certainly for estate planning work.

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Resolution #32: Preservation of a Productive Agricultural Land

WHEREAS, feeding a growing world population will become an ever more challenging task for the agricultural sector; and
WHEREAS, valuable, productive agricultural land is being diverted to development and non-productive conservation uses at a steady rate; and
WHEREAS, preservation of productive agricultural land will be essential to producing enough food to feed people around the world.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports policies that would protect the diversion of productive agricultural land to industrial, commercial or residential uses or to non-productive conservation uses.

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Resolution #33: Farm Youth Leadership Programs including 4-H and FFA

WHEREAS, the 4-H Program and FFA have successfully served generations of rural youth with practical education and leadership training; and
WHEREAS, maintaining strong youth programs in Minnesota which focus on agricultural activities is vitally important to preparing the next generation of agricultural leaders.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports continued state and county funding to maintain 4-H and state and school district funding to maintain FFA Programs throughout Minnesota.

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Resolution #34: Strategic Alliances

WHEREAS, the dairy farmer and their cooperatives must work together to get a fair price for their product; and
WHEREAS, the cost of transporting milk for processing in the Upper Midwest in considerably higher than in other milk producing regions; and
WHEREAS, this cost is being paid by the producer -- either directly or indirectly; and
WHEREAS, enhanced outcomes can be gained through strategic alliances and coalitions.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) Program which bring cooperatives and farmers together to achieve common goals.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that dairy farmers and milk processing partners continue working to improve hauling efficiencies by every means possible in order to reduce assembly costs.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association seek strategic alliances when improved association priority outcomes can be achieved.

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Resolution #35: Options for Animal Disposal

WHEREAS, the food and drug administration has developed rules which prevent the rendering of animals over 30 months of age; and
WHEREAS, some County regulations do not allow composting or burial of animals.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports having the Board of Animal Health be the leading state agency to set, implement or enforce policies relating to animal disposal practices.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that additional options for disposal of animals must be uniformly available to producers across the state including continuation of financial support through programs such as EQIP.

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Resolution #36: Care of Animals

WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports a vibrant livestock sector and believes in maintaining consumer confidence in the Nation’s food supply; and
WHEREAS, Minnesota dairy producers provide quality care of their animals; and
WHEREAS, the foundation for the care of dairy animals is based on the values and integrity of the dairy producers whose way of life is dependent upon the health and well-being of their animals; and
WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association will participate in initiatives which seek to establish livestock care standards that are based on sound science, economic feasibility and which are broadly accepted in the marketplace.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association urges its members to provide quality housing, nutrition, husbandry and Veterinary care to all animals.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association work with other entities to ensure animal care standards are being met and to educate the broader community, including elected officials, about current animal care practices.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that Minnesota Milk Producers opposes initiatives to impose arbitrary animal care standards through statute.

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Resolution #37: Infrastructure Needs of Rural Communities and Milk Processors

WHEREAS, a vibrant, diverse and growing dairy processing sector is vital to dairy producer sustainability; and
WHEREAS, local infrastructure needs such as roads, bridges, water supply and wastewater facilities affect the ability of milk processors to remain competitive; and
WHEREAS, ongoing operations and any planned expansion by milk processors located in communities whose infrastructure is inadequate to meet their operational needs will jeopardize jobs and economic impact in Greater Minnesota and dairy producer sustainability; and
WHEREAS, state financial assistance is needed to ensure that municipalities can make timely improvements to public infrastructure; and
WHEREAS, it is in the interest of milk producers to work with milk processors and community leaders to seek resources to improve community infrastructure.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers respond to requests of milk processors and their communities to support funding to maintain or improve essential local infrastructure.

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Resolution #38: Agriculture Drainage Systems

WHEREAS, Landowners currently experience frustration from the need to interact with numerous state and federal agencies with jurisdiction over wetlands and drainage activities; and
WHEREAS, landowners experience lack of certainty with regard to wetland definitions and delineations, and a complicated mix of wetland protection laws and wetland restoration programs.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the development of working agreements between the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) that simplify the installation and maintenance of agricultural drainage systems.

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Resolution #39: Employment Under False Pretenses

WHEREAS, a central concern of Minnesota milk producers is the health and comfort of their livestock; and
WHEREAS, individual producers and the dairy industry as a whole can suffer significant economic consequences from findings or even allegations of animal abuse; and
WHEREAS, opponents of animal agriculture may seek to gain access to farm operations under false pretenses in order to record real or staged instances of substandard animal care.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT:
RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association remains vigilant in their commitment to proper animal care.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the enactment of penalties for individuals who would gain access to animal agriculture operations under false pretenses in order to stage and record the mistreatment of animals.

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