As a panelist at the annual National Food Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., yesterday, IDFA Vice President Ruth Saunders discussed dairy policy proposals and suggested ways to support farmers that wouldn't penalize consumers. The two-day conference, presented by the Consumer Federation of America, is a national gathering for those interested in agriculture, food and nutrition policy.
Now in its 34th year, the conference explores the critical food policy issues of the day with a diverse mix of policy makers, consumer advocates, food industry experts and scientists. Major speakers include cabinet members and leaders on food and agriculture policy on Capitol Hill.
Saunders joined other dairy and sugar industry experts in a panel discussion titled "Should Consumers Bear the Cost of Farm Support Programs? The Case for Sugar and Dairy Policy Reform in the Farm Bill." Speaking against the Federal Milk Marketing Orders and government-mandated supply control programs, Saunders said there are many ways to offer support to dairy producers, including a margin insurance program, that wouldn't raise costs for consumers and government feeding programs.
She referenced a recent study of the impacts of proposed dairy policy legislation on federal nutrition programs that found millions of dollars in hidden costs. Behind typical estimates of the price of the National Milk Producers Federation's (NMPF) Foundation for the Future dairy policy proposal, she said, are additional taxpayer costs that would reduce the effectiveness of and access to federal nutrition programs for low-income women and children.
Other panel participants included Dana Brooks of NMPF and Chandler Goule of the National Farmers Union. Brooks presented elements of the Foundation for the Future and made a case for supporting the Dairy Security Act of 2011, which Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN) recently introduced in the House. Goule said his organization doesn't support the legislation and is looking at other options for supporting producers.
Review the complete program here.
For more information, contact Saunders at email@example.com.