CAFTA Pushed at IDFA's Washington Conference
Members visited more than seventy members of Congress representing states from Alaska to Florida during the conference held June 15 and 16. Then they wrapped it up with the 23rd Annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party, were more than 5,000 people were treated to ice cream cones, floats and sundaes.
This year IDFA members advocated for the Central American/ Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (known as "CAFTA-DR"); opposition to new import tariffs on milk protein concentrates (MPC), casein and caseinates; support for federal legislation to level the playing field for out-of-state milk sales; and the need for a fundamental reform of U.S. dairy policies.
IDFA members stressed that CAFTA-DR nations would lead to duty-free access to a region that today ranks behind only Canada, Mexico and Japan in terms of U.S. dairy imports. Committees in both the House and Senate were discussing CAFTA-DR while IDFA members were making their rounds on Capitol Hill.
Opposition to new tariffs on milk protein concentrates (MPCs), caseins and caseinates was another top priority for the meetings. Industry officials stressed that new tariffs are unnecessary and cited a recent International Trade Commission study that blames the lack of domestic MPC production on the federal Dairy Price Support Program, which discourages industry investment in the technology to make MPCs.
The 2007 Farm Bill was also on the agenda for the Capitol Hill meetings, with members seeking reform of federal dairy policies to make the industry more competitive in today's increasingly international marketplace. Members also sought support for a bill expected from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) to close a loophole that some processors have used to avoid minimum farm price requirements by selling their milk from a federally regulated area into a state regulated area.
Ending a heat wave that had plagued Washington, D.C., for days, June 16 brought blue skies and pleasant 80 degree weather for the delicious tradition that ends IDFA's Washington Conference each year. About 5,000 people - including members of Congress, their families and staffs, and Washington Conference attendees - celebrated ice cream at the highly anticipated summertime event.
The following ice cream manufacturers donated nearly 1,400 gal of ice cream in about 40 different flavors for this year's party:
Baskin Robbins/Dean Foods
Brigham's Ice Cream
Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, Inc.
Friendly Ice Cream Co.
Galliker Dairy Company
Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream
Hunter Farms - High Point
Mayfield Dairy/Dean Foods
Perry's Ice Cream
PET/Land O' Sun Dairy/Dean Foods
Pierre's Ice Cream Co.
Prairie Farms Dairy
Publix Super Markets
Purity Dairies Inc./Dean Foods
Turkey Hill Dairy
Wells' Dairy, Inc.
Smucker's donated sundae toppings, Hershey Creamery provided the use of ice cream freezers, and the American Beverage Association donated the soda for the party's famous root beer floats.
Dozens of "scooper" volunteers from Penn State University, Virginia Tech, and the Dairy Princesses from Maryland and Virginia were joined by IDFA staff and others in the massive effort. All scoopers wore red, white and blue t-shirts and hats, thanks to Cintas Corporation.
After the party, IDFA donated some frozen desserts and other party goods to the D.C. Central Kitchen, a local food bank. Thanks again to all those who made this year's Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party a success!
The Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party is also the kickoff event for National Ice Cream Month in July.