The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is deeply concerned by the significant departure taken by the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee on the dairy title approved by the Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Subcommittee on May 24.   Released over the weekend by Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN), the "Chairman's mark" substantially alters the dairy policies recommended by the Dairy Subcommittee.   IDFA calls on House Agriculture Committee members to respect the work of the Subcommittee and reject these new dairy provisions.

"This repudiation of the policy set forth by the Dairy Subcommittee disrupts a delicate balance struck by the Subcommittee, and takes our dairy policies in the wrong direction domestically and in a global marketplace," said IDFA President and CEO Connie Tipton.  "This is a real disappointment as we have been trying to work with the chairman to take advantage of the ripe opportunity to make dairy policy more progressive and effective for both farmers and manufacturers."

IDFA’s concerns about the chairman’s plan include that it:

  1. Provides a forward contracting program that is merely window dressing and wouldn't be effective in giving dairy buyers and sellers tools they sorely need to manage enormous price fluctuations.
  2. Mandates the use of government subsidies for dairy exports at a time when U.S. dairy commercial export opportunities are growing and driving dairy markets to record high prices.
  3. Implements past legislation that will add new taxes on all dairy imports.
  4. Adds more regulatory process to the already cumbersome Federal Milk Marketing Order system. 

"The forward contracting plan in the chairman's mark won't give dairy buyers and sellers the choices they desperately need to manage enormous price fluctuations," noted Tipton. "The changes recommended by the chairman are an attempt to strongly dissuade processors from entering forward contracts, effectively gutting the program.  We also feel that this program has been tested and should now be made available as a permanent risk management tool for dairy."    

And at a time when commercial export opportunities are growing and driving dairy markets to record high prices, the chairman's mark mandates the use of government subsidies for dairy exports and adds new taxes on all dairy imports. 

"These are both measures that risk trade retaliation," said Tipton, "and they do nothing to bolster the market position and growth of the U.S. dairy industry."  

Yet another disappointment is the chairman's recommendation to throw out the work of the Dairy Subcommittee in presenting a streamlined Federal Milk Marketing Order decision process.  The chairman's mark tosses aside the tighter timeframes recommended by the Subcommittee and instead adds more regulatory process to the already cumbersome Federal Milk Marketing Order system. 

IDFA continues to strongly support establishing a commission to resolve the regional conflicts being created by the current Federal Milk Marketing Order milk pricing system, something that, as yet, has not been included in either the subcommittee bill or the c

IDFA will continue to work with Congress on supporting progressive, effective dairy policies for the future of the U.S. dairy industry.

International Dairy Foods Association