The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


N.Y. dairy processors say House Ag didn't seek their views

New York dairy processors are complaining that the House Agriculture Committee did not invite them to testify at the committee’s hearing in Saranac Lake, N.Y. last Friday, according to a news release issued by the International Dairy Foods Association on Monday.
Jerry Slominski

Jerry Slominski
“There are two sides to every story,” said Jerry Slominski, senior vice president of legislative and economic affairs at the International Dairy Foods Association, which represents the nation’s dairy manufacturers. “At Friday’s hearing, the House Agriculture Committee heard only one side, from the dairy co-ops.”

“We would also like to correct the misinformation put forth by the dairy co-ops at Friday’s hearing,” Slominski said. “The milk supply control program included in the legislation is not voluntary. Dairy producers may not participate in the risk management insurance offered as part of the bill unless they sign on to the supply controls.”

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said in his opening statement at the hearing, “While I do not expect unanimity among dairy industry participants, I do encourage all industry participants — producers and processors alike — to find some level of consensus regarding the type of reform that is needed.”

But Lucas also noted “We just don’t have time to hear from everybody who would like to share their perspective. But we have a place on our website where you can submit those comments in writing.”

Two New York processors — H.P. Hood LLC, which operates five dairy plants in the state, and Great Lakes Cheese Co. Inc., which owns two processing facilities, submitted letters to Rep. Christopher Gibson, R-N.Y., and Bill Owens, D-N.Y., for the hearing record. They voiced their opposition to the dairy market stabilization program included in the Dairy Security Act written by House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and expressed support for changes to the federal milk marketing orders.