Dairy farmers oppose farm bill’s supply management

The nation's second-largest dairy cooperative is opposing the Dairy Security Act, included in the House Agriculture Committee chairman's mark of the Farm Bill.

The nation's second-largest dairy cooperative has joined other producer groups in opposing the Dairy Security Act, included in the House Agriculture Committee chairman's mark of the Farm Bill. In a letter sent yesterday to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the groups, including California Dairies, Inc.; Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative; Dairy Policy Action Coalition; National All-Jersey, Inc.; North East Dairy Producers Association, Inc.; and Wisconsin Dairy Business Association, wrote that they have "continuously raised objections over the impact the Dairy Security Act (supply controls) will have on our members." Minnesota Milk Producers Association also sent a separate letter in support of a safety net program without supply management.

The International Dairy Foods Association opposes the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, also known as supply management, included in the Dairy Security Act because it will raise consumer prices, hurt exports, cost thousands of new jobs and stifle investments in new facilities.

"The Dairy Security Act remains a risk to America's dairy industry, yet is being sold as the solution," the joint letter said. "The program would attempt to manipulate both supply and demand for milk in order to temporarily push milk prices higher. A short-term gain in milk price from supply management will result in a long-term decrease in milk price because of the lost global market share. Not being a reliable supplier threatens the U.S. competitive edge in international markets, reducing our opportunity for continued success in export markets.

"The nation's dairy producers support reform, but the DMSP is the wrong direction. Reforms should not reduce exports, cut jobs and add more regulations. The Dairy Title should allow the dairy industry a chance to compete and grow without government regulating the amount of milk a farmer can produce. Our citizens and the world population deserve an abundant, affordable and sustainable food supply.

"The members of our associations ask you to support a margin insurance program that will help dairy producers without including a government controlled supply management program," concluded the letter.

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