As the House and Senate Agriculture Committees prepare to write a new Farm Bill this week, the list of organizations opposed to a proposed dairy program continues to grow. Nearly 150 organizations and businesses across the food chain, from farmers and food manufacturers to food retailers and consumers, have signed letters to members of Congress urging them to oppose the “Dairy Market Stabilization Program” (DMSP). This program is designed to raise milk prices by establishing federal regulations to periodically limit the U.S. milk supply when farms are growing.
The DMSP is a controversial proposal that is part of the Dairy Security Act, a bill sponsored by Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN) that is included in drafts of the next Farm Bill. Both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees will consider the draft bills this week.
Consumer groups have expressed concern that the DMSP would “ultimately increase the prices that consumers pay for milk and dairy products,” adding that the program would prevent prices from falling while providing no protection from periodic milk price surges. A broad coalition of food manufacturers, grocers, retailers, restaurants, chain restaurants and pizza makers joined with dairy processors in saying that “restricting milk supplies will hurt dairy industry growth, leading to long-term consequences” for the industry.
Twelve conservative organizations have expressed opposition to the DMSP saying that the program would have the federal government “manage both supply and demand for milk in order to keep prices artificially high.” The groups added, “Consumers will pay even more for dairy products, government funds will be wasted on dairy purchases, and dairy industry and job growth will be stunted.”
Several key dairy farmer organizations also have joined the opposition to the DMSP. California Dairies, Inc., the nation’s second-largest dairy cooperative and the largest exporter of milk powder products in the Western Hemisphere, has written that the DMSP “could lead to adverse results for our nation’s export efforts.” Wisconsin’s Dairy Business Association has voiced opposition and the Northeast Dairy Producers Association wrote that the “DMSP would limit farm growth during a time when farms [in New York State in particular] have a demand for our product to meet the needs of our dairy processing plants.”
Many of these organizations, including consumer groups, food and restaurant groups, numerous dairy producer groups and dairy food manufacturers, have urged support for the Dairy Freedom Act, a bipartisan, compromise alternative to be offered as an amendment by Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and David Scott (D-GA). The Goodlatte-Scott bill would offer an effective safety net program for dairy farmers but would not include the controversial proposal to limit milk supplies and artificially keep prices high. According to the Congressional Budget Office, implementing the Goodlatte-Scott bill would cost slightly less than implementing the Dairy Security Act with the DMSP.
“The truth is that Congress can help dairy farmers without hurting consumers and nearly everyone else up and down the food chain,” said Jerry Slominski, senior vice president of legislative and economic affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association. “The Goodlatte-Scott bill would provide an effective safety net to help dairy producers through difficult economic times, yet would cost taxpayers less than Representative Peterson’s proposal, and it wouldn’t handcuff dairy exports or dairy industry job growth.”
Trade Associations, Policy Organizations, Producer Groups and Businesses Opposing the Dairy Market Stabilization Act
Agropur Inc. Alabama Grocers Association Alliance Dairies (Florida) Alouette Cheese LLC Alta Dena Dairy American Commitment American Enterprise Institute American Enterprise Institute American Pizza Community Americans for Prosperity Americans for Tax Reform Anderson Erickson Dairy Company Arizona Food Marketing Alliance Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association Arthur Schuman, Inc. Barber's Dairy Bel Brands USA, Inc. Berkeley Farms Blue Bell Creameries, L.P. Board of Directors of Bongards' Creameries (Minnesota) Borden Dairy Company of Alabama, LLC California Dairies, Inc. Campaign for Liberty Carl Colteryahn Dairy, Inc. Carolinas Food Industry Council Center for Individual Freedom Club for Growth Competitive Enterprise Institute Compton Creamery Consumer Action Consumer Federation of America Consumers Union Cost of Government Center Council for Citizens Against Government Waste Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative Dairy Institute of California Dairy Policy Action Coalition Davisco Foods International, Inc. Dean Foods Company Dean Foods-Buena Park Delaware Food Industry Council First District Association (Minnesota) Fleur De Lait-West Food Industry Alliance of New York Food Marketing Institute FreedomWorks Galliker Dairy Company Galloway Company Gandy's Dairy Products Georgia Food Industry Association Glanbia Foods Inc. Grande Cheese Company Great Lakes Cheese of Seymour, Inc. Great Lakes Cheese of Wisconsin, Inc. Grocery Manufacturers of America Hawaii Food Industry Association Heartland Farms H-E-B Hershey Creamery Company High Desert Milk (Idaho) Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. HP Hood LLC Idaho Retailers Association Illinois Food retailers Association Imperia Foods International Dairy Foods Association Kansas Food Dealers Association Kraft Foods Group, Inc. Lactalis American Group Lactalis Deli Lake Country Dairy Lake Norden Cheese Company Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms Leprino Foods Company Louis Trauth Dairy Louisiana Retailers Association Maine Grocers Association Maryland Retail Association Massachusetts Food Association Mayfield Dairy Farms Meadowbrook Dairy Michigan Grocers Association Minnesota Grocers Association Minnesota Milk Producers Missouri Grocers Association Montana Food Distributors Association Morning Glory Dairy National All-Jersey, Inc. National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) National Consumers League National Council of Chain Restaurants National Frozen Pizza Institute National Grocers Association National Restaurant Association National Taxpayers Union Nebraska Grocery Industry Association Nestle USA, Inc. New Hampshire Grocers Association New Jersey Food Council North Dakota Grocers Association North East Dairy Producers Association, Inc. Northeast Dairy Foods Association, Inc. Oak Farms Dairy Penn Made/Crowley Foods Plains Dairy, L.L.C. Price's Creameries Publix Super Markets Inc. R Street Institute Retail Grocers Association of Greater Kansas City Riverside Creamery Rosenberger's Dairies Safeway Inc. Saputo Cheese USA, Inc. Saputo Dairy Foods Sargento Foods Inc. Sartori Company South Dakota Retailers Association Southwest Ice Cream Specialties Swiss Dairy Swiss Premium Dairy Taxpayers for Common Sense Taxpayers Protection Alliance Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association Texas Retailers Association The Dannon Company, Inc. The Kroger Company Turkey Hill Dairy, Inc. Utah Food Industry Association Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Inc. Verifine Dairy Products Virginia Retail Merchants Association Wapsie Valley Creamery, Inc. Washington Food Industry Association Wells Enterprises, Inc. Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Wisconsin Dairy Business Association Wisconsin Grocers Association
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $125-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.