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Safety net or Soviet-style planning

Dairy industry has mixed reactions to approval of Goodlatte-Scott Farm Bill amendment

While processors rejoice, producers are disappointed.

By a vote of 291-135, the U.S. House of Representatives today approved the Goodlatte-Scott Farm Bill amendment. Organizations representing dairy processors and dairy producers issued these statements:

IDFA says 'momentum is now strongly against supply management' 

From Jerry Slominski, Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs and Economic Policy, International Dairy Foods Association
IDFA commends the House of Representatives for voting, 291-135, to reform our dairy policies by establishing a new and expanded revenue insurance program for dairy farmers without imposing a controversial program that will have our government get into the business of limiting milk supplies, hurting consumers and costing American jobs. The momentum is now strongly against supply management for our dairy industry.

The Goodlatte-Scott amendment will provide an effective and expanded safety net for dairy farmers but without adding a program that will make healthy and nutritious dairy products less affordable for our nation's families. And, it will allow dairy companies, particularly dairy exporters, to continue to grow and create jobs.

IDFA is grateful for the strong bipartisan support from all across our country but particularly to Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and David Scott (D-GA) for sponsoring this amendment, to the cosponsors of the amendment, to the Representatives who spoke out during the floor debate and to the many other Representatives who reached out to their colleagues to help win this vote.

We also thank House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for his strong and consistent support throughout the Farm Bill process.
We look forward to passage of the Farm Bill by the whole of Congress and to reforming our dairy support programs without also forcing families to pay more for dairy products or limiting our industry's ability to capture new export markets. The entire dairy industry will be stronger as a result.

NMPF says Ag committee vote was 'fiscally reckless'

From Jerry Kozak, President and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation:

The decision to adopt the Goodlatte-Scott (G-S) amendment as part of the House’s farm bill is a disappointment to America’s dairy farmers who recognize this amendment for what it is: an effort to ensure that dairy processors get a government-insured supply of cheap milk. But the House vote against final passage of the farm bill makes the G-S vote a hollow victory for its proponents.

We always knew we faced a difficult challenge in the more urban and suburban-oriented House, especially with House Speaker John Boehner personally committed to defeating the Dairy Security Act. But we’re hopeful that the House and Senate will eventually find a way to write a compromise farm bill. When they do, we believe the agriculture conferees who develop that final bill will understand the importance of the more balanced approach to dairy policy contained in the Senate-passed farm bill.

The House rejection of its Agriculture Committee’s dairy proposal, which included margin insurance plus market stabilization, is a fiscally reckless vote, with negative implications for the dairy producer sector, but also for the entire farm bill. By eliminating the market stabilization component, the Goodlatte-Scott amendment removed the cost control mechanism from this measure, greatly increasing government and taxpayer cost exposure.

DFA calls today's vote 'disappointing' but still seeks 'meaningful dairy policy reform'

John Wilson, Senior Vice President, Dairy Farmers of America:
Despite the agriculture community’s best effort, with a vote of 195–234 the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass a Farm Bill today.
Earlier in the day, the Goodlatte-Scott amendment stripped the Dairy Market Stabilization Program from the underlying bill.

Regardless of the loss on Goodlatte-Scott, Dairy Farmers of America remained supportive of final passage of the Farm Bill to keep the momentum going on a bill that is vital to so many aspects of the American agriculture sector. Farm families across the nation rely on the provisions in the Farm Bill, and that they will continue to operate under outdated and inadequate policies is truly disappointing.

DFA members joined farmers across the nation in voicing their support of this Farm Bill, and their engagement was instrumental in securing needed dairy policy reform in the version of the bill brought to the floor.

Although today has been disappointing, the dairy industry has shown its resiliency in the past, and continued optimism and action is the only option as we look to the future. We express sincere thanks to all who made calls, attended meetings and sent important emails to their legislators. This participation is imperative as we look to the future and make dairy policy reform a reality.

The dairy industry has many advocates on Capitol Hill and we owe our appreciation to those in Congress who supported our efforts. I am confident that this support will not falter as we continue our pursuit of meaningful dairy policy reform.

Wisconsin group is 'thrilled' by the vote

Dairy Business Association, Green Bay, Wis. (an industry organization comprised of dairy producers and allied industry supporters):
The DBA strongly supported and worked for adoption of the Goodlatte/Scott amendment to the Farm Bill because it represented free market reforms to our dairy industry, and we are thrilled with the vote outcome today.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent a letter to legislative members this morning indicating Soviet-style dairy programs are in need of dire reform and urged his colleagues to vote against the Dairy Security Act which included the supply management program.

In his letter Speaker Boehner stated, "By bringing some free market reforms to our dairy programs, this amendment will help our economy grow, protect farmers and families, and save taxpayers an additional $15 million over the changes in the underlying bill."

Executive Director Laurie Fischer concurred with the Speaker's comments and replied, "Had this amendment not been adopted to the Farm Bill it would have not only been more costly, but it would also have added more government intrusion into an already highly regulated dairy industry, and it would have imposed new and costly regulations on the nation's dairy processors."

"We appreciate the support and efforts of Speaker Boehner on this important amendment, and the DBA will continue to fight to ensure the amendment remains in the Farm Bill because we know it will provide an effective safety net option for dairy farmers, without government interference in their businesses or in milk markets," she said.

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