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Watchdog Group Calls for End to Federal Milk Pricing, Sugar Programs

Jul 13, 2016

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), a nonprofit organization that aims to protect taxpayers, guard against government fraud and trim the federal budget, recently released its annual report on recommendations to eliminate unnecessary and ineffective federal programs and spending. In “Prime Cuts 2016," the group identified more than 600 examples of government waste and outlined the need to reform federal agricultural programs, including dairy and sugar.

Federal Milk Marketing Orders

According to the report, eliminating the Federal Milk Marketing Orders would result in a one-year savings of $1.1 billion and $5.7 billion in savings over five years. While saying taxpayers “dodged a bullet” when the 2014 Farm Bill didn’t include supply management in the form of the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, the report questioned the need for the new Dairy Product Donation Program.

“The best solution for taxpayers and consumers is for milk markets to be deregulated and made to resemble other competitive industries,” CAWG said.

Sugar Program

The report had harsh words for the U.S. sugar program, saying, “Few examples exist of more conspicuous public regulation for the benefit of entrenched special interests at the expense of taxpayers than the U.S. sugar program.” Calling it a “Soviet-style command-and-control program,” the report said the U.S. government artificially inflates the price of sugar and establishes a minimum price that roughly doubles the world price.

CAWG said the sugar program should be replaced with market-oriented reforms to help consumers, food manufacturers, taxpayers, producers and the environment. Eliminating the program would save the country $1.2 billion in one year and $6 billion over a five-year period, it said.

Read “Eliminate the Dairy Subsidy” and “Eliminate the Sugar Subsidy” under the Agriculture Section. 

IDFA continues to call for phasing out the milk pricing and pooling provisions under the Federal Milk Marketing Order system and reforming the U.S. sugar program, saying markets will work without federal programs paving the way.

For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at

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