With members of Congress returning home to their districts for an extended recess that will last through September 9, now is a critical time for them to hear from processors about the continuing effort to pass the 2013 Farm Bill.
The House of Representatives and the Senate have passed Farm Bills with significant differences in several areas, including dairy, and they will need to be negotiated or “conferenced” into one final bill. The Senate-passed bill contains the divisive Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP), which would impose limits on the milk supply and artificially increase the price of milk. The House version of the Farm Bill includes the Goodlatte-Scott amendment, which was adopted with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 291-135 on the House floor, offering a resounding rejection of the DMSP.
“When Congress returns, we expect they will begin the important work of resolving the differences between the House and Senate Farm Bills,” said Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president for legislative affairs and economic policy. "It is critical that IDFA members reach out to their senators, in particular, and encourage them to accept the House version of the dairy language, which includes an effective and expanded revenue insurance program for producers but eliminates the controversial government supply management program.”
August is also an ideal time for dairy processors across the country to use this legislative downtime to host their representatives and senators at their processing facilities for educational tours and policy discussions. Plant tours offer an excellent way to connect on a personal level with lawmakers, allowing them to learn about the dairy businesses and see firsthand how they operate and what they need to be successful.
IDFA's GrassRoots Action Network for Dairy (GRAND) network can help members to:
- Identify and establish a relationship with members of Congress who represent plants, company headquarters or distribution facilities;
- Arrange plant tours or meetings with members of Congress to discuss company or industry issues; and
- Maintain relationships with members of Congress and staff in Washington, D.C., by staying in constant contact with Congress legislators and ensuring that issues important to dairy processors stay in the forefront.
Members interested in arranging a plant tour with a member of Congress or looking for more information on the GRAND program and how to reach their members of Congress may visit www.dairycounts.org or contact Ashley Burch, IDFA assistant director of political programs, at (202) 220-3534 or email@example.com .