Washington, D.C. - The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) today said that even though there is a historic opportunity to reform U.S. dairy policy to benefit consumers, farmers and the entire dairy industry, the proposed changes to the Foundation for the Future (FFTF) plan put forth by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) continue to include unacceptable policy reforms.

"NMPF's proposal continues a complex, government milk pricing system that will force even higher prices on fluid milk and penalizes producers who want insurance with mandatory supply controls," said Connie Tipton, president and CEO of IDFA. "Unfortunately, these provisions are unacceptable to our members."

IDFA opposes milk pricing regulations that would increase the already significant regulatory burden on processors, put more pressure on declining milk sales, and increase costs for consumers, as well as many government nutrition and feeding programs that are already stretched to serve Americans who are struggling to feed their families.

In addition, this new proposal would change the process for revising the out-of-date Federal Milk Marketing Order system by effectively giving dairy farmer cooperatives the power to veto rules that the Secretary of Agriculture would develop in the public interest. This is a "heads, consumers lose, or tails, consumers lose" process that would inflate milk prices. By contrast, processors would not be given any vote or say in the adoption of regulations that directly impact their businesses.

NMPF's new proposal to mandate a national producer referendum to replace regional voting would allow producers in some areas to force regulations on other regions that may not want to participate.

IDFA continues to oppose any form of supply management at a time of great market opportunity for its members and the entire U.S. dairy industry. The revised NMPF plan requires producers to limit supply if they want to participate in an insurance program. IDFA believes producers need risk management tools without more government mandates.

"IDFA supports programs like Livestock Gross Margin - Dairy and catastrophic revenue insurance that will help producers manage risk, and the government offers similar programs to farmers of other commodities - with no strings attached," Tipton noted, adding that the new proposal may actually discourage risk management by subjecting dairy producers who participate to potential new taxes. "We are urging Congress to demand more analysis and consideration of this new proposal and its impact on America's families, our dairy industry, the nation's economy and the thousands of jobs that would otherwise be gained if we move dairy policy in the right direction."

Source: The International Dairy Foods Association