At the urging of IDFA, Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI), Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Tom Petri (R-WI) of the House Dairy Farmers Caucus sponsored a briefing last Friday that served as a counterbalance to one held a week earlier that touted the Dairy Security Act, and its supply management provision, included in the Farm Bills passed by the House Committee on Agriculture and the Senate.
Nearly 50 House and Ag Committee staffers attended the briefing by Dr. Eric Erba, chief strategy officer at California Dairies, Inc. (CDI), the nation’s second-largest dairy cooperative, and Dr. Mark Stephenson, director of dairy policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Stephenson’s presentation, “Dairy Options for the Farm Bill,” called attention to the “unintended consequences” of the Dairy Market Stabilization Program. He pointed to the speed at which circumstances change in the dairy industry and how the drought situation has raised concern that current milk production will be affected and the dairy industry may not have enough milk.
“If the stabilization program were law, the supply management program would be in effect now and would be reducing already-low milk production by four percent,” noted Stephenson.
“Our dairy producers want tools that will limit risk, that are easy to navigate and which are not tied to supply management,” said Erba. “Supply management has been tried before and did not work at all. Good intentions, but horrific results. “
Also in attendance at the briefing were two dairy farmers who oppose supply management. They are Alan Kozak, Dairy Policy Action Coalition member and owner-operator of Clover Patch Dairy in Millersburg, Ohio, and John Pagel, Wisconsin Dairy Business Association vice president and owner of Pagel’s Ponderosa in Kewaunee, Wis.
IDFA opposes the Dairy Security Act because it will raise consumer prices, hurt exports, cost thousands of new jobs and stifle investments in new facilities.
For more information, contact Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president for legislative and economic affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.