Led by Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry are working to put together a draft Farm Bill that will be released possibly as early as mid-April. IDFA urges all members to contact their senators and representatives to ask them to oppose the Dairy Security Act, H.R. 3062, and support risk management tools that are not tied to milk supply management.
"We've gone through several false alarms and fire drills, but this time is the real deal and every member is engaged. The Senate Agriculture Committee is planning to begin mark-up of the Farm Bill very soon," said Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy.
"We're aware that three or four Democratic senators have expressed concern about supply management to Committee Chairwoman Stabenow," Slominski added. "It's now vitally important for Republican senators to weigh in with Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-KS)."
Opposition to milk supply management received a huge boost on Saturday from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) who indicated at a Farm Forum in Ohio that if the supply management provision ever came to the House floor he would talk against it. Boehner expressed his opinion that Rep. Collin Peterson’s (D-MN) proposal last fall had “zero” chance of becoming law.
Boehner also called the current Federal Milk Marketing Order system “convoluted” and warned that the proposal by Peterson is "even more convoluted," and he pledged to fight against it as well.
IDFA Steps Up Efforts
Over the past week, IDFA stepped up efforts to encourage members to reach out to their legislators. As of last Friday, 25 member companies had sent letters to House and Senate Agriculture Committee members, calling on them to oppose supply management proposals and adopt a compromise producer safety net in the new Farm Bill. Six Illinois dairy foods companies became the latest to express their views on dairy policy legislation by submitting letters of record to the House field hearing held Friday in Galesburg, Ill.
Now is the time for all IDFA members to let their senators, particularly those on the Senate Agriculture Committee, know of the dairy industry’s opposition to the Peterson legislation. Contact Ashley Burch, IDFA assistant director of political programs, at email@example.com for talking points or more information.
The House and Senate will work through this week and then recess for the following two weeks. The Senate committee is aiming to complete the Farm Bill when it returns from recess, Slominski said.
Read the member letters here: