Senators Across the Country Call for Immediate Make Allowance Relief
"This delay is unacceptable." That's what 17 senators told Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns last week in a widely supported bipartisan letter calling for a prompt interim decision to update the pricing formulas for make allowances. Senators from 11 states joined Sens. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) to voice their objections to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) delay in updating much-needed cost adjustments.
"Dairy production and processing are both energy-intensive enterprises, and there is no escaping the pressures that come when energy prices soar," the letter explains. "It is crucial for the long-term economic health of these dairy operations, and ultimately dairy farmers, to support make allowances that reflect current costs."
The senators stressed the need for immediate relief, adding, "We have already seen an exodus of a number of cheese plants in some areas of the country, in part due to the higher operating costs of the past several years, and it is clear that fewer processing outlets for farmers' milk means less local competition for their raw milk."
"We applaud Sens. Coleman and Kohl for championing this effort on behalf of dairy processors and producers," said Chip Kunde, IDFA senior vice president. "These senators understand the economic injury of this delay. Our industry is losing $26 million a month and that means our suppliers and customers are ultimately suffering, too."
In addition to Coleman and Kohl, the senators who are calling for USDA to immediately update make allowances are: Kent Conrad (D-ND), John Cornyn (R-TX), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Carl Levin (D-MI), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Barack Obama (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
To read the senators' letter, click here.
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle echoed the senators' comments last week in a separate letter to Johanns.
"The dairy industry cannot be held economic hostage to the archaic and outdated formulas," Doyle said. "Credible proposals to correct the formulas have been well presented and substantiated by a broad spectrum of the dairy industry, after four full days of public testimony."
Doyle stressed the importance of a speedy decision to the dairy industry in his state, and urged Johanns to expedite the process to provide "the much needed relief." To read Doyle's letter, click here.
IDFA is reaching out through the media as well. A column by Kunde, titled "USDA Delay Definitely Not the Right Thing," appeared last week in Cheese Reporter. In the column, Kunde says IDFA emphatically opposes USDA's inaction on make allowances and disagrees with several specific points raised in a previously published column supporting the delay. To read Kunde's column, click here.
Two weeks ago, IDFA President and CEO Connie Tipton submitted a column titled " Regulations = Order? Think Again
" to Cheese Market News. Click here to read her column calling for immediate action on make allowances.
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Posted July 31, 2006