NFU Suggests Adjustments to Dairy Legislation

WASHINGTON (Oct. 28, 2011) – National Farmers Union sent a letter to leaders on the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate Agriculture Committees urging them to continue working to reform dairy policy in the farm bill as part of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Super Committee) process. The Dairy Security Act of 2011 (DSA) could lead to further vertical integration of the dairy industry if additional steps are not taken.

“The DSA, in its most recent form, will likely encourage the use of forward contracts,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “For many years, NFU has opposed the increased use of forward contracting for dairy producers. Similar to the consolidation and vertical integration that has occurred in the poultry and swine sectors, the DSA could lead to increased forward contracting by dairy processors will only serve to transform the American dairy industry at a heavy cost to farmers and rural communities.”

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Dairy Proposal Not Good Enough

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson wants Congress to know that serious work on U.S. dairy policy is appreciated but it must protect small producers as well as large.

“While we are very appreciative of Ranking Member Peterson’s proposal to initiate meaningful and necessary dairy reform, our Board of Directors feels that the proposal in its current form is inadequate,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The current proposal would not provide a safety net for all dairy farmers, particularly family-sized operators. A fundamental problem with this proposal is that it appears that the largest farmers will reap the greatest benefits at the expense of smaller family farms.”

Johnson is speaking of U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-MN, ranking member on the House Committee on Agriculture, and the effort he is leading to push dairy reform, likely before the 2012 Farm Bill. Peterson’s latest proposal draws heavily from the National Milk Producers Federation “Foundation for the Future” work.

In a recent meeting, the NFU Board of Directors passed a resolution speaking directly to Peterson’s approach on dairy reform. The NFU resolution outlines several reform oriented solutions to the ongoing crisis for dairymen, especially smaller family farmers.

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