Milk Regulatory Equity Act Signed into Law
President Bush has signed the Milk Regulatory Equity Act, which brings into line federal and state milk marketing orders in Arizona, California and Nevada.



Milk Regulatory Equity Act Signed into Law

President Bush has signed the Milk Regulatory Equity Act, which brings into line federal and state milk marketing orders in Arizona, California and Nevada. The measure, which was passed by the U.S. Senate in December and cleared the House of Representatives in late March, had the strong backing of dairy processors.

The new law requires southwestern states to abide by federal milk marketing regulations when they sell into other states covered by the federal orders. Processors say they're hopeful they will be able to close more of what they see as loopholes in the milk marketing rules.

"As we approach the 2007 Farm Bill, we hope this marks the beginning of a willingness by industry, Congress and the administration to reevaluate U.S. dairy policy to reflect today's ever-changing marketplace," said Connie Tipton, President and CEO of IDFA.

Dairy producers have a new ally in Washington. A group of bipartisan lawmakers have formed the Dairy Farmer Caucus, to focus legislators' attention on dairy policy issues. The caucus is co-chaired by Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on the Senate side, and by Representatives Devin Nunes (R-CA), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Rick Larsen (D-WA), and Randy Kuhl (R-NY) on the House side.

"It's high time that the second-largest farm commodity in the U.S. has its own caucus to contribute to the process of discussing and developing legislative policy in Washington," said Charles Beckendorf, Chairman of the National Milk Producers' Federation, which was instrumental in forming the caucus.

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking comment on proposed rules on marketing of food products to teens, as it prepares a report to Congress by July 1. The dairy industry is asking the FTC to forego limits on marketing of healthy food products like milk. Industry officials say it's one thing to limit promotional activities on over-consumed beverages and snacks that add calories but little or no nutrition, and quite another to limit advertising for milk and other healthy foods that are under-consumed by kids.