WASHINGTON, May 24, 2024—The U.S. House Agriculture Committee today approved its version of a 2024 Farm Bill. Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), released the following statement on the bill:

“IDFA was pleased to see the House Agriculture Committee’s 2024 Farm Bill expand the SNAP Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive (HFMI) to include the full suite of nutritious milk options. Congress created the SNAP HFMI pilot program in the 2018 Farm Bill to test the most effective ways of incentivizing SNAP participants purchase of healthy fluid milk. Since then, HFMI pilots operating under the name ‘Add Milk!’ have been running in more than 700 retail outlets in 19 states, including locations in rural communities, counties with persistently high poverty rates, Opportunity Zones, low-income and low access census tracts, and Tribal Nations and surrounding tribal communities. The program has been very effective in doubling the purchasing power of SNAP participants through the use of electronic incentives. The House Agriculture Committee’s 2024 Farm Bill recognizes this success by expanding the program to incentivize nutritious milk options like 2% and whole milk, and by providing more certain funding to ensure increased access and continued success of the program. IDFA will continue to work with the Committee and industry champions to expand the program to incentivize other nutritious dairy products like cheese and yogurt as provided in the Dairy Nutrition Incentive Program Act of 2023. Ninety percent of Americans do not consume enough dairy to meet the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations. Expanding HFMI into a broader dairy nutrition incentive program will increase access among SNAP participants to a broader array of nutritious dairy products. IDFA urges Congress to ensure these products are included in the final version of the Farm Bill.

“The House Agriculture Committee 2024 Farm Bill makes the Dairy Forward Pricing Program permanent, which would eliminate the gap in forward pricing programs for proprietary plants and their producers that occurs if farm bills are delayed. The bill also allows schools to serve whole milk and reduced fat (2%) milk to students, pursuant to the Chairman’s Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act, which IDFA has supported. It also mandates biennial cost surveys to ensure make allowances accurately reflect the cost of manufacturing dairy products—a consensus priority across the U.S. dairy industry.

“Unfortunately, the bill also includes a provision that circumvents USDA’s mandate to complete the ongoing Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) hearing process, by restoring the ‘higher-of’ formula for the calculation of the price of Class I (fluid) milk—a policy delegated to USDA via the law. The USDA process to make changes to the FMMO system through a Federal Order Hearing has been under way for well over one year, and USDA will soon announce its proposal for the updated FMMO. IDFA believes Congress should not intervene on one select issue, especially one that is included in the current USDA FMMO Hearing process and one that has significant impacts across all policies in the FMMO and like many of the hearing proposals, affects many parts of the dairy supply chain. IDFA urges Congress to remove this provision as it develops the 2024 Farm Bill and let USDA complete its work on the many equally important updates needed in FMMO price regulations.”

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3.2 million jobs that generate $49 billion in direct wages and $794 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent most of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.