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Dairy reform on the docket again in 2011

PD Staff Published on 03 February 2011

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As a new Congress is assembled, dairy coalitions are busy outlining their reform plans for 2011. Here is what some of the key players are working on:

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Foundation for the Future
NMPF is working to put the specifics of the Foundation for the Future program into legislative form so that members of Congress can have the legislation evaluated for its costs and economic impact.

Meanwhile, NMPF continues to reach out to other key groups within the dairy producer community, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and USDA’s Dairy Industry Advisory Committee, to compare notes on the best way to achieve an economically positive and politically positive outcome for dairy farmers, and look for a common ground to proceed with a unified position.

NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak also met with the new Republican Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, and the Agriculture Committee’s top Democrat, Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

The Foundation for the Future Federal Order Subcommittee continues the process of fleshing out specific details about reforming the Federal Milk Marketing Order system.

Dairy Price Stabilization Program
The DPSA remains as the only bill that’s been able to get coast-to-coast support in Congress. Holstein Association USA Inc. and the Milk Producers Council (MPC) have maintained their support for this program.

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MPC has said it hopes the rest of the industry leadership will come to the “legislative table” very soon, either behind DPSA, or more likely behind a larger legislative package that includes the principles laid out in DPSA (the principles of creating an industry tool to maintain better long-term supply/demand balance).

That larger package could be NMPF’s Foundation for the Future; however, it would like to see the legislation before deciding whether or not to support it, and it will need to be assured that it will be promoted as a bill to be passed immediately (not as part of a 2012 – or later – Farm Bill).

If that cannot happen soon enough, MPC plans to work with Holstein Association and other coalition partners to get the DPSA bill ready to be part of the 2011 Congressional session.

National Dairy Producers Organization
The National Dairy Producers Organization Inc. introduced its “Contract with Producers” as a means to “rapidly move forward with informing and organizing the entire producer sector” of the U.S. dairy industry. Inside, the contract identifies eight tasks that the organization is committed to accomplishing in their endeavor to achieve their number one goal and responsibility, producer profitability.

Adhering to their commitment to attain these tasks in the shortest time possible, the contract identifies the “Top 10” issues impacting the dairy industry and the financial hardships of dairy producers today.

The National Dairy Producers Organization Inc. revealed their position and plans to implement immediate changes, on behalf of dairy producers, based on these Top 10. An additional 10 issues, and the organization’s stance on those, are documented in the Contract with Producers and identified as issues on the board of directors’ working agenda.

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The “Contract with Producers” will be signed during a Feb. 8 meeting, inside the National Dairy Producers Organization tent at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. and adjourn at noon.

The contract can be reviewed on the National Dairy Producers Organization Inc. website, www.nationaldairyproducers.org PD

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