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Budget Estimates Show Miniscule Differences Between House and Senate Dairy Spending in Farm Bill

Nov 27, 2013

Contact: Peggy Armstrong
(202) 220-3508

Farm Voices Continue to Speak Out Against Supply Management

 (Washington, D.C. – November 27, 2013) While members of Congress, including House and Senate Farm Bill conferees, returned to their home states to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, a large and growing group opposed to the dairy supply management provision included in the Senate version of the Farm Bill continues to press their case. Views on the Farm Bill budget are also impacting the debate.

“Both the Senate and House dairy titles reflect a negligible difference in spending, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS),“ stated Ruth Saunders, vice president of policy and legislative affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association. “Overall, both bills spend more than $40 billion over 10 years for commodity programs, of which only one percent goes to provide a safety net for dairy farmers.”

The Congressional Research Service report is available here.

“Analysis shows that the Senate could drop their supply management program and save money if they also included the higher premium rates for the largest dairy farms that are in the House Bill,” according to Saunders.

The Senate-passed provision known as the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP), will increase milk price volatility by periodically imposing limits on the amount of milk dairy farmers can sell -- and worse, penalizing them if they produce more than the allotted amount. The House of Representatives voted to eliminate the supply management program by an overwhelming margin of 291-135.

In recent days, such icons of agriculture as Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns and Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK) have spoken out against the Dairy Market Stabilization Program. Senator Johanns, the former Secretary of Agriculture, stated in a radio interview, “I am not a fan of supply management. I never have been. I do think it has all kinds of potential to distort the marketplace; ” while Representative Lucas, chair of the House Agriculture Committee, recently told a group of faculty members at Texas Tech University that he does not support the supply management component included in the language passed by the Senate.  

In stating his opposition to government control of our milk supply, Senator Johanns joins Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who expressed his opposition to dairy supply management during committee consideration of the Senate farm bill; Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), who recently voiced his support for the House dairy title that excludes supply management; and Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who has expressed concerns over the Senate dairy title. In addition, a group of nearly 30 Democratic members of Congress wrote to their conferees asking them to support the House dairy title.

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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 within a $125-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 nearly 200 dairy processing members run nearly 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, ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States.

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