The Dairy Industry Advisory Committee held its final meeting this week, reversing a previous decision to recommend adopting the California Milk Solids Standards. Instead, the committee unanimously voted to ask Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to explore the issue further and review the impact that the fortification standards would have if they were applied to all U.S. fluid milk.
Although the committee tweaked its recommendation for the secretary to review further the Federal Milk Marketing Order system, the remainder of its recommendations as adopted in its December meeting remained the same. The committee used most of the two-day meeting to review and discuss its final report.
Several key proposals were adopted by unanimous or near unanimous vote at the committee's December meeting. They include replacing the price support program and the export incentive program with an enhanced safety-net for dairy farmers, improving risk management products, adopting farm savings account and phasing out ethanol subsidies. After finding common ground on the California standards issue, the committee's only remaining controversial position is its endorsement of a "growth management" program by a close 9-8 tally.
"IDFA commends the committee for its hard work," said Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy. "The concept of having the government limit growth and milk production by penalizing farmers is obviously divisive, even within the producer community, but there are over a dozen solid recommendations that nearly everyone agrees can be worked on right now to move us forward."
IDFA opposes milk-supply control because studies show that it doesn't prevent price volatility and can have an adverse effect on industry growth.
The committee expects to finalize its report with a conference call on February 11 and plans to deliver it to Secretary Vilsack soon after.
For an overview of the two-day meeting and a detailed list of tentative recommendations, read "DIAC: Dotting i's and crossing t's."
For related information, read "Dairy Advisory Committee Votes for Supply Control, Higher Milk Solids" and "IDFA Asks Dairy Advisory Committee to Reject Milk Solids Proposal."
Additional information will be posted on the USDA website when it becomes available.
Members with questions may contact Slominski, at firstname.lastname@example.org.