Foretelling potential problems of the dairy title included in the Farm Bill, the House Judiciary Committee today rejected efforts by the House Committee on Agriculture to allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to bypass the procedural protections afforded to businesses, under the Administrative Procedures Act, when promulgating rules to implement the Dairy Security Act. The Judiciary Committee instead inserted a proposal that would require USDA to examine the impacts of proposed dairy policy in several areas – including consumer prices, the cost of USDA nutrition programs, competitiveness within the dairy industry and the potential for dairy market growth – prior to adopting interim and final regulations.
The action of the Judiciary Committee reflects growing opposition to a new program that artificially increases milk prices, which is included in the Dairy Security Act. Called the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, the proposal will limit milk supplies by periodically requiring food manufacturers to withhold payments from dairy farmers and to remit the revenues to the USDA. Because the new program will impose implementation costs of more than $100 million annually on food manufacturers, the Congressional Budget Office has labeled the program as an unfunded mandate on America’s businesses.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has signaled his opposition to the Dairy Security Act and will offer his alternative proposal, called the Dairy Freedom Act, as a substitute when the Farm Bill is debated by the full House of Representatives later this month. Co-sponsored by Representative David Scott (D-GA), the Dairy Freedom Act offers an effective and expanded safety net for dairy farmers in the form of revenue insurance but removes the controversial policy to manipulate milk prices that is now included in the House Farm Bill.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.