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Dairy Producers Working To Build State's Industry

Guy Hall
(800) 392-5705, ext. 5181

The year 2007 ended with fewer than 13,000 milk cows, or fewer than 70 Alabama dairy farms. Even though the state of Alabama continues to witness a sharp decline in the number of dairy operations, the state still benefits financially. In 2007, Alabama dairy producers impacted the Alabama economy to the tune of more than $41 million in cash receipts.

Although Alabama has witnessed a marked decrease in the number of dairy farms and dairy production over the past decade, the Alabama Farmers Federation continues to work to make dairying more profitable for those involved as well as looking to recruit new dairy producers to the state.

Alabama is a deficit milk market, meaning it doesn't produce enough milk to meet milk processing and consumption demands. Alabama produces less than 20% of the milk processed in the state with the balance coming from states like Texas and New Mexico. As transportation costs increase for bringing out-of-state milk to Alabama and other milk-deficit Southeastern states, it is feasible to assume that more dairy producers look to Alabama as a potential location for dairy expansion. A group of agricultural organizations are working hard to make this happen. Those organizations engaged in the recruiting of dairies to Alabama are the Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama Dairy Herd Improvement Association, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and Dairy Farmers of America.

Goals and Issues

Alabama Dairy Producers, a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation, is composed of dairy producers from throughout the state. The Dairy Division represents these producers on a national, state and local level. Alabama Dairy Producers has county committees in 21 Alabama counties. Dairy producers who make up these committees come together at the local level and develop policies and program ideas to address their needs and concerns. Those policies are then discussed at the state level and may be transformed into state and national initiatives by the organization.

Goals of Alabama Dairy Producers are determined by a state committee, which is elected by other producers from throughout the state. The State Dairy Committee is advised by Wayne Robinson, regional Extension dairy specialist; Boyd Brady, Alabama Dairy Herd Improvement Association director; and Jerry Adams, Dairy Farmers of America representative.

Issues and challenges facing producers are evaluated each year, and priority is placed on each to determine a focus for the division's efforts.

Goals include:
  • Work for national dairy program acceptable to Alabama farmers
  • Support funding for Mandatory Country of Origin labeling in 2007 Farm Bill.
  • Limit imports of casine and milk products.
  • Identify funding opportunties to assist producers with complying with environmental regulations.
  • Recruit new dairies to Alabama.
  • Work to decouple Class 1 Fluid Milk prices from Class 3 and 4 prices.
  • Increase transportation credit portion of Federal Milk Market Order for Federal Order 7 to pressure milk processors to pay more for Southeastern milk.

Members of the 2013 Alabama Farmers Federation State Dairy Committee are, from left, front row: Diane Payton, DeKalb County; Vice Chairman Richie Traylor, Randolph County and Chairman Will Gilmer, Lamar County; back row: Mickey Childers, Morgan County; Trey Martin, Coffee County; Jody Rankin, Marengo County; Federation Dairy Division Director Guy Hall and Wayne Bearden, Macon County.

The Local Connection

County Farmers Federations, with the assistance of Area Organization Directors, provide support and a mechanism to address issues on the local level. Herein lies the strength of Alabama Farmers Federation. Each county may establish its own Dairy Committee. Needs and requests from producers in the county are the beginning of policy development and the direction of Alabama Dairy Producers. You may contact your county dairy chairman, or if none currently exists, the Area Organization Director in your region or your County President for more information.

Why Should I be a Member of Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Dairy Producers?

The Alabama Farmers Federation brings farmers of all commodities together for a common cause. Together, we can accomplish more for everyone's benefit. The more producers actively participating in Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Dairy Producers, the more effective the organization can be on issues affecting them. With membership in the Alabama Farmers Federation, come many benefits.

Milk, butter and cheeses are the heart of the dairy industry. This recipe for Banana Pudding incorporates two of those. For this recipe and more, visit FarmingFeedsAlabama.com and order your copy of the Federation's new cookbook.
Activities and Programs

One shining achievement in the dairy industry in Alabama over the last several years has been the establishment and implementation of Alabama Mobile Dairy Classroom. This cooperative effort between the Southwest Dairy Museum in Sulphur Springs, Texas, and the American Dairy Association of Alabama has had a huge impact on the education of Alabama families and school children regarding the production of dairy products.

The Mobile Dairy Classroom is actually a milking parlor on wheels, complete with cow. Amanda Griffith, program coordinator, travels all over the state of Alabama educating young people and school teachers and others on the modern milking process, characteristics and anatomy of dairy cows, importance of dairy foods in a healthy diet, and modern environmental and food safety practices. This program has touched the lives of thousands upon thousands of Alabamians and will continue to impact people for some time to come. It must be said that this effort would not have been possible without the support of the Southwest Dairy Farmers.

If you are interested in scheduling the mobile dairy classroom for your school or another event, you can schedule a visit online at MobileDairy.com. If you register online and do not receive an email confirmation, please resubmit request or call 1-903-439-MILK (6455).

Other activities include:
  • Represent Alabama dairy farmers in the state legislature, U.S. Congress and USDA
  • Support 4-H, FFA and FHA dairy youth programs, including projects, shows and judging teams
  • Promote and assist in coordination of dairy promotional activities.
  • Hold county and state informational meetings for producers.
  • Support and assist development of coordinated regional dairy research between southeastern land grant institutions.

Did You Know?

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