Cooperatives Working Together has tentatively accepted 294 bids in its third herd retirement of the last nine months. It's the second-largest herd retirement since the farmer-funded self-help program started in 2003 behind the round completed in July. Combining the more than 86 thousand cows and 1.8 billion pounds of milk accepted this round with the previous two herd retirements equals a total production capacity of 4.8 billion pounds of milk being removed since December of 2008.
CWT field auditors will begin visiting the farms whose bids were accepted next week. They'll check milk production records, inspect herds and tag each cow for processing. Farmers will learn no later than Aug. 31 if their bid is among those accepted. Once field auditors inspect and accept the herds offered farmers have 15 days to send their animals to a processing plant.
Farmers in 38 states submitted more than 300 herd retirement bids to CWT last month. That interest following a previous round so closely indicates members still have an interest in removing more cows. That's according to National Milk Producers Federation CEO Jerry Kozak who says CWT stands ready to conduct additional herd retirements later this year in order to help address the severe supply-demand imbalance that has depressed farm-level milk prices.