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Hill of Beans

May 10, 2018

By Tony Eberhard, IDFA Vice President of Legislative Affairs

Welcome to “Hill of Beans,” a periodic update by Tony Eberhard about the association’s work in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to advance dairy industry priorities. After working on the Hill for various members of Congress and senators since 2001, Eberhard gives IDFA readers a former Hill staffer’s take on what is going on and how it affects our priorities.

“There is a lot of work being done in the House and Senate that never makes the headlines but affects members’ bottom lines, and I’m hoping these updates will prove useful to you and your organization,” Eberhard said. “I’m titling these updates ‘Hill of Beans’ because to many in national media this information might not amount to much, but to our industry’s agenda in Congress, it is critical.” Read the update below.

What’s Next for the Farm Bill?

Passing farm bills is usually a difficult process, and this one will be no different. Though there is widespread support in the agriculture community for the bill, there are disagreements between House Republicans and Democrats on some of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provisions. This dynamic will make passage of this farm bill particularly challenging, which is why it is critical that IDFA is working to make sure the farm bill moves forward.

The farm bill recently passed by the House Agriculture Committee includes important IDFA initiatives on risk management for fluid milk, the producer safety net and dairy incentives in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. We’re staying engaged and helping to build support wherever possible.

The farm bill is likely to be brought to the House floor for consideration next week. We have only a few days to make sure members of Congress are aware that this farm bill includes provisions to improve the competitiveness of a dairy industry supporting nearly 3 million American jobs. Members who serve on the Agriculture Committee have certainly heard this message, but we are helping spread the word far and wide in the 435-member House of Representatives.

Members of the House hear from a wide array of interests every day on countless topics. It’s imperative that in the week leading up to the farm bill, we work to make dairy’s impact in members’ districts a strong consideration before they vote. Given the cacophony of competing voices in Washington, those who don’t speak up usually aren’t heard. We know how to whip butter and cream; now is our time to show we know how to whip up support as well.

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