Six members of the Progressive Agriculture Organization (Pro-Ag) attended the milk hearing in Saranac Lake, New York, held by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committee.
Brenda Cochran, a dairy farmer from Westfield, Pennsylvania, stated, “We heard very little testimony concerning any real policies on improving milk prices to dairy farmers.”
According to the Pro-Ag members, a representative of Agri-Mark Co-op testified that as long as dairy co-operatives market nearly 80 percent of the milk produced in the U.S., it can be said that 80 percent of the dairy farmers in the U.S. support the Dairy Security Act.
However, Pro-Ag Manager Arden Tewksbury pointed out that a recent survey conducted by Progressive Dairyman indicated that 73 percent of the dairy farmers that answered their survey did not support the Dairy Security Act. (Click here to see the results of the poll.)
Tewksbury added, “Two years ago, Progressive Dairyman conducted another survey that pitted a version of the Security Act against several other dairy proposals. The results of this survey illustrated that over 60 percent of the dairymen that voted supported the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act, which is currently identified as S-1640, or the Casey bill.”
The House committee listened as two panels of presenters expressed their concerns regarding the writing of a new farm bill. The first panel dealt mainly with dairy issues and the second zeroed in on specialty crops.
The Pro-Ag officials, as well as the majority of the crowd, were not allowed to address the committee; Pro-Ag members did submit written suggestions for consideration.
After the hearing, Pro-Ag representatives conversed with several members of the committee, including Congressman David Scott (D-Georgia). They emphasized the need to pass a dairy bill such as S-1640.
Ken Dibbell, a dairy farmer from South New Berlin, New York, said, “Some of the members of Pro-Ag were not allowed to enter the building with respectful signs indicating the need of S-1640 to be passed.”
Pro-Ag member and dairy farmer Robin Fitch said, “Not only was I told the signs were not permissible in the building, I was told the freedom of speech area was on the other side of the tracks!” PD
—From Progressive Agriculture Organization news release
PHOTO: New York state dairy farmer Robin Fitch, next to signs supporting dairy bill S-1640, outside the House Committee on Agriculture's March farm bill hearing in Saranac Lake, New York. Photo courtesy of Progressive Agriculture Organization.