The National Milk Producers Federation is a nationwide interest group that houses thousands of milk producing farmers and their cooperatives. Established in 1916, and based in Arlington, Virginia, the NMPF develops and carries out policies that advance the prosperity of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The Federation essentially provides a forum in which dairy farmers/cooperatives use to construct policies on national issues affecting milk production and marketing. The members of this organization are aimed at improving the economic interests of farmers while also assuring the nation an adequate and healthy supply of milk and other dairy products. The interest group is the dairy farmer's only voice on Capitol Hill and the NMPF is the only nationwide expression of dairy farmers and cooperatives on national public policy.
The creation of the National Milk Producers Federation began back in 1916 due to a milk price crisis. In major cities like Boston, Chicago, and New York, the price per quart of milk averaged at eight cents. With the incredible amount of labor put into the business, these prices proved to be exceptionally low. In December of 1916, 700 dairy leaders gathered in Chicago, led by Charles W. Holman, a former farm journalist. Their mission was to create a national organization for dairy workers which would improve conditions for milk farming, improve marketing strategies, standardize products, raise the cost of milk to better support farmers, and more. At the end of the conference, the members drafted a constitution with specified laws and even named their first Officers. The first President of the Federation was named Milo D. Campbell and the first Chief Executive was none other than Charles W. Holman. There was little resemblance to the interest group we see today which pushes legislation and carries out lobbying tactics, but this would soon change.
In 1917, the National Milk Producers Federation joined other farm organizations like the National Grange in demanding better protections for cooperatives under the Clayton Antitrust Act. A year later the organizations would begin work on a Bill which fought the legal changes against bargaining cooperatives. Farmers discovered they could not market milk cooperatively without violating antitrust laws. The Bill, known as the Capper-Volstead Act was written mainly by John D. Miller in 1919 and was introduced in Congress. The document initially failed but was slightly revised and introduced again in 1921. With an endorsement from United States President, Warren Harding, the Bill passed, exempting milk farmers from antitrust laws so cooperatives could sell their members' milk collectively. This sparked the idea that the National Milk Producers Federation could be more than just a group of farmers, but an interest group pushing for legislation on Capital Hill.
Members of the dairy organization are usually milk farmers, producers, and smaller companies that have large roles in the industry. They mainly come in cooperatives, or individual farmers banding together to make a larger group to have a bigger influence in the community. The Federation's members stretch nationwide. All areas of the United States have branches of farmers and co-ops which adhere to the organization as members. Members of the National Milk Producers Federation receive material and purposive incentives. The material incentives seen when being a member of the NMPF are “members-only” publications. This includes, the News for Dairy Co-Ops, Dairy Industry News Alert, Activities and Accomplishment Report, the Regulatory Register, ImportWatch, Dairy Producer Highlights, and the first view of NMPF press releases. The purposive incentives seen when joining the NMPF is the idea that one can be apart of the leading trade organization in the dairy industry and the fact that this Federation is responsible for keeping the U.S. population healthy. Another main incentive for dairy farmers to join is so that they can have representation in congress, they can make a difference in legislation, and so that their business can thrive.
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