On Tuesday the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry held its third hearing this month to review the economic conditions facing the dairy industry. The Subcommittee continued to hear from producers across the country about the steep decline in milk prices since 2007 and the effects those prices are having on the dairy industry.
According to Subcommittee Chairman David Scott, D-Ga., this month's hearings have shown there are as many different points of view on dairy policy as there are dairy producing regions. However he says there's been progress in agreeing to some basic points, which shows the ideas about where dairy policy should go are not irreconcilable.
California Farmers Union President Joaquin Contente testified Tuesday telling the committee he's never seen prices remain so far below costs for so long. In order to end this crisis Contente said it's vital for dairy producers to come together to agree upon policy changes that will lift the industry. He said the outook for dairy producers in California and across the country is grim unless Congress acts quickly to reform federal dairy policies.
Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Lang also testified on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Lang said Farm Bureau would support many options to help dairy producers in the short-term including the program of Cooperatives Working Together. But Lang said Farm Bureau is opposed to a federal dairy herd buyout program similar to those in the past because they benefited one sector to the detriment of another, the beef industry. He said the dairy sector needs to be able to return to a supply and demand balance as soon as possible.