Drumbeat Against Controversial New Dairy Program Getting Louder
Taxpayer organizations align with consumer organization and IDFA in opposition
WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The list of those opposed to a new government dairy supply control program that House and Senate Ag Committee Chairs will attempt to sneak into the super committee bill is growing. Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens Against Government Waste and the National Taxpayers Union have joined together to urge the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to oppose a controversial dairy program that will increase milk prices for consumers. The groups are expressing their concerns in response to reports that Congressional leadership, in a closed door session, has agreed to insert the highly controversial program into the deficit reduction bill in order to avoid the regular legislative process that would allow hearings and amendments.
The groups wrote in a joint letter that the openly acknowledged purpose of the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, as the supply control program is known, “is to assist dairy farmers through a new round of government market manipulation in a way that will increase milk prices for everyone. Our respective organizations believe that the inclusion of such a program in any plan that is intended to solve our long-term budgetary problems would be both inappropriate and inexcusable.” The recommendations from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are due to the super committee on November 1, 2011.
The taxpayer organizations follow the Consumer Federation of America, which recently wrote to the Chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to voice their opposition to the same measure. “The Dairy Market Stabilization Program, included in H.R. 3062, is specifically designed to increase milk prices. This means that consumers would pay higher prices for milk and milk products than they otherwise would. As milk and dairy prices increase, low income consumers are hit especially hard, since they spend a higher percentage of their income on food than other consumers. In addition, research has shown that as milk prices increase, consumption of milk decreases. Federal nutrition guidelines encourage increased calcium consumption, and milk is a primary way that consumers obtain calcium in their diets.
Rep. Collin Peterson’s Dairy Market Stabilization Program will increase milk prices by having the government control milk supply. According to economic analyses, the proposal would limit dairy industry growth, curtail dairy exports, and hinder job creation. Because the federal government is the largest consumer of dairy products, the increased costs due to the federal government nutrition programs due to higher prices — an estimated $655 million in 2009 alone — will greatly outweigh any possible savings from the program.
IDFA’s 200 dairy processing members and their 175 divisions, subsidiaries, and joint ventures run nearly 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–and account for more than 200,000 jobs.
In addition to the consumer and taxpayer groups, dairy industry groups including the Dairy Policy Action Committee, California Dairies, Inc., the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association, Alliance Dairies (Florida), the Board of Directors of Bongards’ Creameries (Minnesota), Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative (Wisconsin), First District Association (Minnesota), High Desert Milk (Idaho), Minnesota Milk Producers Association, National All-Jersey Inc. (Ohio) and the Northeast Dairy Producers Association have all publicly stated their opposition to supply controls.
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 530 companies representing a $110-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.
SOURCE International Dairy Foods Association