IDFA President and CEO Connie Tipton told the members of the Dairy Industry Advisory Committee that providing the tools that individual companies and farms can use to manage their own businesses, coupled with some better form of farm revenue safety net, can be a great engine for innovation and growth in the U.S. dairy industry. She spoke at its first meeting this week in Washington, D.C.
The committee, established by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, is charged with reviewing farm milk price volatility, as well as dairy farmer profitability and consolidation. It will recommend ways that the U.S. Department of Agriculture can address the needs of the dairy industry.
Tipton focused on changing consumer demands, the need for continuing innovation in dairy products, the pressures of competition from other products and ingredients, and how all of these things are affected by our milk pricing policies.
A Long-Term, Reliable Supplier
"A big question we must consider as we address our underlying pricing and safety net policies is whether our current markets will continue as they are, grow, decline or otherwise change, and what impact will policy decisions have on our markets in the future" Tipton told the committee. "We must position ourselves to be a long-term, reliable supplier, and we need to change some of our policies to make sure we can do that."
IDFA proposes that the Dairy Product Price Support Program and direct payments to farms through the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) be replaced with a new, subsidized margin insurance program for dairy producers. IDFA also calls for reform of the Federal Milk Marketing Orders to allow milk to move based on markets rather than on regulated pricing. IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) are working together to find areas of consensus on these policy issues.
Tipton's presentation was part of a session that included four industry association proposals. Others who presented were Jerry Kozak of NMPF, Robert T. Vandenheuvel of the Milk Producer's Council of California and Chandler Goule of the National Farmers Union.
Of the 17 committee members, three represent IDFA member companies: Jay Bryant, Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Inc.; Patricia Stroup, Nestle USA, Inc.; and Sue Taylor, Leprino Foods Company.
Read more about the Dairy Industry Advisory Committee here.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (front row center) poses with 17 members of the Dairy Industry Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D. C. He is flanked by Sue Taylor of Leprino Foods Company (left) and Patty Stroup of Nestle USA, Inc. (right). Jay Bryant of Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Inc. is also pictured (second row, second from left).
- Photo courtesy of USDA