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Consumer Groups Ask Vilsack to Oppose Supply Management

Aug 15, 2012

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, three national consumer organizations expressed concern about the secretary's support for the supply management proposal in the Senate and House versions of the Farm Bill. The groups asked Vilsack to support an alternative dairy program that wouldn't hurt consumers or federal nutrition assistance programs and would save taxpayers money.

Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America and the National Consumers League said supply restrictions included in the proposed Farm Bill program would lead to higher average milk and dairy product prices for consumers. Program costs for federal feeding programs also would increase, while consumer purchasing power would drop, especially among those with low incomes.

"There are other viable options," the letter stated. "As the Congressional Budget Office's recent analysis showed, for example, a margin insurance program without supply controls would save taxpayers more money than the House Agriculture Committee's combined margin insurance/supply control proposal – and without raising consumer prices."

The groups sent the letter in response to comments made by the secretary that appeared last week in Agri-Pulse. Vilsack said he supported margin insurance tied to supply management and challenged those who want to strip supply management from the Farm Bill to propose another option without "huge fiscal cost."

IDFA also opposes supply management because it will raise consumer prices, hurt exports, cost thousands of new jobs and stifle investments in new facilities.

For more information, contact Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president for legislative and economic affairs, at


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