The National Milk Producers Federation's Board of Directors have voted to reauthorize the industry-funded and managed price stabilization program Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) for another 18 months of operations, beginning July 1, 2005. The NMPF Board approval of the CWT renewal followed a similar vote on Monday by the CWT Committee, which helps direct the program.

By a unanimous vote, the NMPF membership agreed Tuesday to extend the program into a third year, until December 31, 2006. The principal reason for the 18-month extension was to align CWT's fiscal calendar (July to June) with the NMPF fiscal year (Jan.-Dec.), thus allowing for more efficient management of the program.

"With nearly two years history behind us, we can say without equivocation that CWT is having a positive impact on the lives of all dairy farmers in this country," said Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation.

"Our herd retirements have removed more than 80,000 cows, impacting both immediate and long-term production, and our export program has been effective in strengthening cheese and butter prices," Kozak said.

With a second successful round of herd retirements recently completed, CWT is now in the process of developing a long-term strategic plan for the future of the farmer-led and -funded organization. That plan, when it is complete later this year, will help guide CWT's future operations, and sharpen its focus on the ongoing goal of helping align milk supplies and demand.

Source: Association Release