The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

IDFA votes to oppose Milk Producers policy plan

In a setback for proposals to rewrite the dairy program this year, the International Dairy Foods Association announced today that its three constituent organizations had voted to support their own dairy policy reform recommendations and to oppose the National Milk Producers Federation's dairy policy package.

The directors of the Milk Industry Foundation, the National Cheese Institute and the International Ice Cream Association made the decisions at a weekend meeting in Carlsbad, Calif., IDFA said in a news release.

IDFA, which represents the dairy processors, had agreed with National Milk, the largest organization of dairy farmers and co-ops, on some issues but had disagreed on National Milk’s provision to include a supply management program.

While most of agriculture has been prospering, the dairy industry has suffered from the recession in the United States, a decline in exports and increased costs of feed. Dairy leaders had considered bringing a reform package to Capitol Hill this year ahead of the 2012 farm bill. But House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., has said he will consider it only if the farmers and processors are united.
National Milk’s “Foundation for the Future” proposal is considered the most viable alternative policy, but some other dairy and farm groups, including the National Farmers Union, do not support it.

“IDFA’s plan offers an alternative path forward that would not limit milk supply through a new mandatory government program, and will give dairy farmers the tools they need to manage volatility,” said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. “Our members believe that it is time to decrease regulations in a highly regulated industry and the National Milk policy package does just the opposite."

IDFA's recommendations include:
  • Replacing the Dairy Product Price Support Program and Dairy Export Incentive Program with better risk management tools for producers.
  • Strengthening dairy risk management tools including forward contracting, the Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy program, catastrophic margin insurance for all dairy farmers, and tax deferred farm savings accounts.
  • Simplifying the Federal Milk Marketing Orders program.