IDFA: Go slow on ‘permanent’ dairy policy implementation

Source: IDFA

International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) senior vice president Jerry Slominski said USDA should not move quickly to enforce the 1949 law that will come into effect Jan. 1, 2014 if the Farm Bill is not extended or updated before the end of the year. His comments came in response to U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), ranking member of the House Ag Committee, who recently called on USDA to pressure Congress to pass a new Farm Bill. 

Slominski said early implementation of the “outdated law” would “dramatically and artificially” raise consumer prices of dairy products and harm the dairy industry.

“IDFA suggests that no one should be in a hurry to enforce an outdated and irresponsible law that would dramatically and artificially increase the costs of nutritious dairy products such as milk and yogurt for consumers and would cause irreparable damage to an important sector of our agriculture economy,” Slominski said in the Sept. 13 issue of “The Hagstrom Report.”

“The House of Representatives, by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 291-135, voted to reject Rep. Peterson’s program to raise dairy prices by imposing production quotas on dairy farmers and we urge Secretary Vilsack to reject this very similar effort,” Slominski said. “The Obama administration enjoys ample legal authority to delay the enforcement of the 1949 act should Congress fail to pass a new farm bill prior to Dec. 31.".

“If placed in that position, the administration should proceed to implement the act in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, following formal rules of evidence, as they have done with hundreds of other regulations,” he continued. “If the administration does choose to move quickly to enforce the 1949 law, it will be responsible for unnecessarily forcing millions of low and middle income Americans, particularly families with children, to pay higher grocery bills and for significantly increasing the costs of our nutritional safety net programs at a time when millions are still struggling to make ends meet.”


Tewksbury: Scare tactics being used again on consumers regarding milk prices

By Arden Tewksbury, Manager, Pro-Ag

One more time, some members of Congress are using scare tactics on consumers in an attempt to obtain a new Farm Bill.  In addition, dairy farmers are being used as pawns by the same Congressmen as an example to what the consequences could be to consumers if a new Farm Bill is not passed.

These same Congressmen are saying that prices to consumers could double in price if a new Farm Bill is not passed by Oct. 1.  The assertion is that if a new Farm Bill is not passed, then the 1949 Ag Act would be implemented.

On Jan. 1, 2013 that same threat was being predicted to take place if action was not taken by Congress.  However, action was taken by Congress to prevent the implementation of the 1949 Act.  At that time, scare tactics were being used on consumers which threatened an $8 per gallon price for milk.  That didn’t happen then and in all probability will not happen now.  Even if the 1949 Act had been implemented on Jan. 1, 2013, we estimated the price would have been approximately $5.65 per gallon to consumers.  It didn’t happen on Jan. 1, and in all probability won’t happen now.

Dairy farmers should not be used as pawns for Congress.

At a time when many dairy farmers are scrambling to stay in business, we certainly don’t need these scare tactics to scare consumers away from using milk.

Fluid milk sales have been declining recently and some of this decline could be associated with scare tactics that were used on January 1.

Any time there are controversies in Agriculture, it seems that milk and our dairy farmers take the blunt of the blame.

Actually on Jan. 1, 2013 prices to consumers dropped around 20 cents per gallon instead of rising.

It’s time for Congress to step in and take real corrective action to relieve the financial burden that is being experienced by dairy farmers.

Ever since 1981 Congress has failed to cope with the real problem facing the majority of dairy farmers.  The pricing formula used to determine the value of milk at the farm level must be changed!  If the parity price contained in the 1949 Act is not feasible, then it’s time a new pricing formula must be implemented that reflects the dairy farmers’ costs. Anything else is just not feasible and should not be accepted by dairy farmers.  Unfortunately, Congress has failed to give just consideration to the Specter-Casey Bill (The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act).  This bill would have priced milk to dairy farmers on the national average cost of production.  This bill would not have created an $8 per gallon cost to consumers, and the price would not have been $5.65 per gallon.  The price would have been approximately $4.15 per gallon.

It’s time Congress comes to their senses and passes a realistic dairy bill patterned after the Specter-Casey bill.  Anything else will only continue chaos on our dairy farms and more slipping in fluid sales.

Pro-Ag can be reached at 570-833-5776.