This February, dairy leaders met with U.S. Senators and Representatives to discuss priority issues for the dairy processing industry during IDFA’s first virtual fly-in of 2021. The multi-week event focused on IDFA’s appropriations priorities and trade issues and marked IDFA’s fourth virtual fly-in since the start of the pandemic.

Due to COVID-19, IDFA shifted its in-person advocacy efforts to a virtual format, making our advocacy more inclusive and our reach more expansive. As a result, IDFA and its members have been able to continue to directly engage Capitol Hill and the Administration no matter where they happen to be.

Courtesy: Office of U.S. Representative Angie Craig (D-Minn.)

During the February fly-in, IDFA members highlighted the importance of Congress providing increased funding for the SNAP Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Program. This pilot program was enacted as part of the 2018 Farm Bill to provide a means to test different methodologies of encouraging SNAP participants to increase their purchases of fluid milk products.

IDFA members also asked Members to preserve the ability of schools to serve 1% flavored milk to their students during the 2021/2022 school year by including supportive language in the FY2022 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

Additionally, the dairy executives stressed the need for Congress to reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) by June 30, 2021, when it is set to expire. TPA authorization would allow the Biden Administration to continue the negotiation and approval of preferential trade agreements that benefit U.S. dairy exports. About 15% of US dairy production is exported.

New Member Meet & Greets

In addition to fly-in meetings, IDFA has hosted over a half dozen new Members of Congress for virtual Meet & Greet discussions.

These gatherings provide a great opportunity to introduce new legislators to the dairy industry and IDFA’s top policy priorities.

Attendees have included representatives from IDFA member companies and other industry partners. The discussions focused on COVID relief, trade, immigration, and other emerging issues that will be important to the food and beverage industry in the 117th Congress.

IDFA plans to continue to host additional Meet & Greets throughout the Spring.

February & March Meetings

  • Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
  • Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA-46)
  • Rep.  Angie Craig (D-MN-2)
  • Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA-4)
  • Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-1)
  • Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA-10)
  • Rep. Vicki Hartzler (R-MO-4)
  • Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6)
  • Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS-1)
  • Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI-3)
  • Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL-5)
  • Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI-4)
  • Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA-4)
  • Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID-2)
  • Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN-5)
  • Rep.  David Valadao (R-CA-21)
  • Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10)

IDFA staff members and dairy industry leaders also hosted a PAC fundraiser for Rep. David Scott (D-GA-13), the new chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. 

Chairman Scott has a long history of supporting IDFA’s policy priorities and we were delighted to host one of the Chairman’s first fundraisers this year.

Future Engagement

Every day, decisions are made in Washington that affect the operations of the dairy industry. Leaders can influence these policy decisions by getting engaged in IDFA’s fly-ins, fly-outs, facility tours and other events.

IDFA wants to thank all its members who participated in our virtual advocacy efforts during the first quarter of 2021. We will host additional virtual events this Spring and Summer. If you have any questions about our political efforts or would like to get involved, please contact Colin Newman, IDFA director of political affairs and strategic programs, at cnewman@idfa.org.

Colin Newman

Director, Political Affairs and Strategic Programs