National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jerry Kozak says there were several misleading claims made in a statement by International Dairy Foods Association President and CEO Connie Tipton last week. Kozak says the statement, in response to the release of a legislative draft by House Agricultural Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., misrepresents facts. Tipton made various claims, including that the ability of the U.S. to export dairy products would be jeopardized and the new program contains new taxes on farmers. Kozak emphasizes the falsity of these claims.
Kozak says the NMPF believes export opportunities will be enhanced with the elimination of the Dairy Product Price Support program, which is contained in Peterson's proposal. Kozak says the price support program acts as a government-funded buyer of last resort for a limited list of commodities, but it also acts as a disincentive to exports. Kozak says markets during periods of surplus will clear more quickly once the program is eliminated.
Also, Kozak says any revenue collected from the DMSP will help ensure commercial products are purchased and used for feeding programs benefitting needy consumers and the costs of the overall package are mitigated through the DMSP revenue collection. Kozak says the money collected isn't a tax on consumers but a user fee paid by farmers that will be used to stimulate demand and defray overall costs of the Foundation for the Future program. He says dairy farmers understand the importance of this approach in order to keep government expenses down in a period when reducing federal spending is a key priority in Congress.
National Farmers Union is taking a closer look at the Foundation for the Future proposal. The group has formed a subcommittee of its board members to examine the organization's dairy policy to evaluate where organizational policy overlaps and is supportive of the proposed legislation. They will also suggest adjustments to the legislation. NFU President Roger Johnson says the ongoing dairy crisis has made it necessary that something is done to provide a safety net for dairy producers.
Johnson says NFU members would like to see supply management in the legislation because it is a key component of NFU's dairy policy. He says they want to find as many places as possible that they can work together with the proposed legislation. The goal according to Johnson is to ensure American dairymen don't have another crisis like the one in the past few years.