WASHINGTON -- Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens Against Government Waste and the National Taxpayers Union have sent a joint letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives asking them to "oppose any form of supply management in the 2012 Farm Bill." The taxpayer groups had previously teamed up on this issue during the failed supercommittee effort last fall.
"On behalf of the millions of taxpayers represented by our organizations, we urge you to oppose any form of dairy supply management in the 2012 Farm Bill," the letter states. "Instead, the House of Representatives should chart a new course for dairy and other farm policies guided by free markets."
The groups are aligned with the position of the International Dairy Foods Association, which opposes production limits of any kind. The Dairy Security Act, part of the Senate version of the Farm Bill, was introduced as H.R. 3067 by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MI) and includes the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, which will increase milk prices by having the government control milk supply. According to economic analyses, the proposal would limit dairy industry growth, curtail dairy exports and hinder job creation. Because the federal government is the largest consumer of dairy products, the increased costs to the federal government nutrition programs due to higher prices -- an estimated $655 million a year based on 2009 prices -- would greatly outweigh any possible savings from the program.
IDFA's 200 dairy processing members and their 175 divisions, subsidiaries and joint ventures run nearly 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States -- and account for more than 200,000 jobs.
"The House should reject these and any other programs for dairy that will raise consumer prices, increase bureaucracy, impose heavier regulatory burdens, and artificially manipulate supply and demand with the misguided aim of propping up farmers at the expense of consumers and taxpayers," the letter continued. "We urge the House to stand with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who recently remarked that these new dairy supply management programs - as conceived by Rep. Peterson - have 'zero chance' of becoming law. Speaker Boehner is also correct that the current discussions on dairy have 'taken a convoluted program and tried to convolute it even more.'
"For the sake of taxpayers and consumers, American farm policy must be put on a path paved by free-market principles. Distortionary government programs that manipulate supply and demand in order to raise prices should be completely off the table in a Congress dedicated to fiscal responsibility and limited government," the letter concluded.
The letter from taxpayer groups is available here.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), headquartered in 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. IDFA can be found online at www.idfa.org .
Source: International Dairy Foods Association