Contact: Peggy Armstrong
Urge Legislators to Adopt Compromise Producer Safety Net
(Washington, D.C. – March 23, 2012) Twenty-five dairy manufacturers – including some of the largest food companies in the United States – sent letters this past week to House and Senate Agriculture Committee members, calling on them to oppose supply management proposals and adopt a compromise producer safety net in the new Farm Bill. Six major Illinois dairy foods companies today became the latest to express their views on dairy policy legislation by submitting letters of record to the Farm Bill field hearing in Galesburg, Ill.
The dairy manufacturers would be directly regulated under the pending Dairy Security Act, H.R. 3062, which was proposed by the National Milk Producers Federation, the trade association representing the dairy coops, and introduced by Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN).
The companies are members of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), which submitted a statement to the field hearing record with detailed information on the problems associated with a government-mandated supply management program.
In the statement, IDFA said other commodities “have moved to insurance and other risk management tools instead of government price intervention. Not only will dairy exports decline if Congress imposes supply management, but dairy imports will be encouraged, causing problems for future trade negotiations."
“Some groups want to completely eliminate government support for agriculture commodities while others are arguing that government needs to step in and control milk supply to assure high milk prices,” said Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy. “We think there is a middle ground where government can help dairy farmers successfully manage their own businesses.”
The Illinois companies – Arthur Schuman, Inc.; Bel Brands USA, Inc.; Nestle USA Inc.; Brewster Dairy, Inc.; Dean Foods Company; Kraft Foods; and Oberweis Dairy, Inc. – wrote to Representatives Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Timothy Johnson (R-IL) and Bobby Schilling (R-IL), who are members of the House Agriculture Committee. The letter is available here.
Several South Dakota companies – Bel Brands USA, Inc.; Lake Norden Food Ingredient Company (Davisco Foods International, Inc.); Saputo Cheese USA, Inc.; and Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Inc. – wrote to Senator John Thune (R-SD), who serves on the Senate Committee for Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. The letter is available here.
Also serving on the Senate committee, Pennsylvania Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) received a joint letter from Carl Colteryahn Dairy Inc.; Galliker Dairy Company; Hershey Creamery Company; HP Hood LLC (Penn Maid/Crowley Foods, Rosenberger’s Dairies/Crowley Foods); Lifeway Foods, Inc./Fresh Made Dairy; Rutter’s Dairy; Schneider’s Dairy, Inc./Schneider-Valley Farms Dairy; and Turkey Hill Dairy, Inc. The letter is available here.
Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who also serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee, heard from Agropur Inc.; Anderson Erickson Dairy Co.; Wapsie Valley Creamery, Inc.; and Wells Enterprises, Inc. The letter is available here.
In New York, HP Hood LLC and Great Lakes Cheese Co, Inc., submitted letters to Representatives Christopher Gibson (R-NY) and Bill Owens (D-NY), members of the House Agriculture Committee, for the record of the field hearing held last week in upstate New York. The Hood letter is available here and the Great Lakes Cheese letter is available here.
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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $110-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85% of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States.