(Washington, D.C.—July 14, 2009) IDFA Chairman Paul Kruse, who is CEO and president of Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, Texas, told a Congressional panel that product innovation and increased global demand are fundamental parts of any solution designed to address the economic conditions currently facing the U.S. dairy industry. He testified before the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Dairy, Livestock and Poultry, which is responsible for dairy policy, at the invitation of Chairman David Scott (D-GA).
"There's no question that dairy farmers have been hit hard by our economy, and this concerns dairy food companies greatly," said Kruse. "The partnership between milk producers and milk manufacturers is critical to the overall health of our industry, and the policies you create here affect this partnership in good ways and bad."
Kruse urged the subcommittee to consider policies that will strengthen the dairy industry in the long-term by increasing demand for U.S. dairy products. He outlined ways the industry can grow by providing greater access to risk management tools, expanding international markets and encouraging innovation in dairy products and ingredients.
"As an industry, we can capture more of this growth if we avoid the temptation to put more band-aids on an old system and consider long-term approaches that will allow us to innovate and expand as an industry," Kruse said.
Blue Bell has facilities in Scott's home district as well as in Ranking Member Randy Neugebauer's (R-TX) district.
As chairman of the International Dairy Foods Association, Kruse spoke on behalf of its 220 dairy processing members, which represents more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts that are produced and marketed in the United States. Members employ more than 120,000 people.