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Dairy Facts 2016

Priorities & Services

I.  Legislative Leadership.

Actions on Capitol Hill can make or break an industry. Whether on milk pricing, nutrition policy, labeling, international trade, immigration or any other issue that will impact dairy companies, IDFA provides leadership and advocacy for the industry on Capitol Hill.


Be the watchdog for good government concerning dairy foods companies. Keep Congress informed about industry issues and concerns.

  • Build and maintain relationships with Members of Congress and their staffs; Provide campaign support from the industry's political action committee, Ice Cream, Milk & Cheese PAC.
  • Push for continued reform and simplification of federal dairy policies.
  • Work toward elimination of unnecessary regulations that affect dairy and related industries.
  • Advocate policies that encourage market growth and oppose measures that limit market opportunities, both domestically and through international trade.

Member Benefits:

A "Washington office" for dairy and related industry members, timely communications on issues and debates, recommendations for action, committee involvement, enhanced relationships with government representatives.

II.  Economic and Milk Procurement Challenges.

Since the Depression of the 1930s, the government has played a role in setting minimum dairy prices, buying surplus dairy products, making direct payments to dairy farmers and regulating pricing in the dairy marketplace.


Be a resource for members and government officials in economic analysis and advocacy of less government intrusion in the marketplace.

  • Provide detailed analysis and interpretation of pricing policies. Serve as an advocate on economic regulatory issues, such as Federal and State Milk Orders, farm support payments, Government Dairy Product Purchase and Donation Programs, and imports and exports.
  • Estimate the impact of various proposed policies on dairy markets; use sound economic data to advance policies that reduce government interference in the dairy marketplace.
  • Help develop and advocate additional risk management tools to deal with marketplace volatility.

Member Benefits:

Data, information and analysis that assists in understanding current dairy policies and advocating improvements, and representation with appropriate agencies.

III.  Regulatory Environment.

Dairy is perhaps the most regulated food. The U.S. industry is subject to more standards of identity, and more labeling, processing and operational requirements than most other food categories. While some regulation is necessary to ensure a safe processing environment, a number of policies have become archaic and counter-productive in today's food industry.


Reduce unnecessary regulation. Support policies that allow for technological advances while preserving the integrity of dairy products. Work closely with regulatory agencies to ensure the safety and efficiency of dairy operations.

  • Advocate science-based policies concerning product safety, labeling requirements, standards of identity, weights and measures, environmental issues, worker safety, food technology and nutrition.
  • Maintain strong relationship with such agencies as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as state regulatory agencies.
  • Play a leading role in all regulatory proceedings affecting dairy, including the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments, the National Conference on Weights and Measures, the International Dairy Federation and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

Member Benefits:

A strong voice with federal and state regulatory agencies, timely communications on agency activities, committee involvement.

IV.  Global Trade and Regulation in Dairy Products.

All dairy marketers, whether they export or not, will be increasingly affected by global trade policies. WTO policies increasingly affect domestic policies, as countries must permit entry of products meeting international standards.


Elimination and prohibition of all agricultural export subsidies. Export subsidies artificially distort world market prices. Without them, efficient dairy producers, like the U.S. dairy industry, would enjoy a higher share of international markets.

  • In the current round of agricultural talks in the World Trade Organization (WTO), advocate the elimination of all agricultural export subsidies and trade-distorting subsidies; and work for reduction in tariffs.
  • Work closely with the U.S. Trade Representative's Office, the U.S. Department of Commerce and other government officials in trade matters.
  • Strengthen rules to prohibit nontariff barriers to trade, such as the use of labeling requirements and sanitary regulations to impose restrictions not related to legitimate health and safety concerns.
  • Participate directly in the drafting of international dairy product standards through Codex Alimentarius.

Member Benefits:

Expanded market opportunities and timely information on the impact of international trade agreements, procedures and regulations; committee involvement, international market data.

V.  Information and Education.

Companies need factual, timely, concise information to succeed. They also need to train employees, and to keep them abreast of government policies and new technologies.


Provide members with communications and programs that assist them in their information and training efforts.

  • Continually maintain the IDFA website,, as a primary information source, and use additional electronic, print and other vehicles to provide information to members.
  • Publish and distribute resource materials, marketing statistics, regulatory guides and other information.
  • Provide in-depth training and education programs using the leading experts in the dairy industry.
  • Provide a series of first-rate, industry-wide meetings, including the policy-oriented Dairy Forum, legislation-focused Washington Conference and the annual International Dairy Show. Provide workshops on Milk Procurement, HACCP and Safety, Dairy Cost Accounting, and many other topics.

Member Benefits:

"Members Only" website with related links, weekly e-newsletter, educational publications, operational manuals, membership directory, discounts to industry workshops and meetings.

VI.  The Image of Dairy Products.

As a major food category and agricultural industry, the dairy industry is often in the news - in both positive and negatively cast stories.


Promote and defend the image of dairy products. Serve as an authority on dairy foods issues. Defuse controversy and unwarranted criticism of the industry and its products. Promote the industry's positions and messages.

  • Act as a primary information source for the news media. Direct the media to expert third-party sources on scientific, nutrition and food safety issues that may arise.
  • Issue media releases, maintain personal contacts with trade press and mainstream media, keep IDFA's positions in the forefront. Offer IDFA's expert staff as needed for print and broadcast interviews.

Member Benefits:

Counsel on media issues, third-party assistance in dealing with media relations, regular issue updates and talking points.

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