WASHINGTON, March 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A group of South Dakota dairy manufacturers have voiced to Senator John Thune (R-SD) their opposition to a proposed milk supply management program expected to be included in the draft Farm Bill. Pointing to the growing dairy industry in South Dakota, the presidents and CEOs of four large dairy companies – Saputo Cheese USA, Inc.; Lake Norden Food Ingredient Company (Davisco Foods International, Inc.); Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Inc.; and Bel Brands USA, Inc. – call it "alarming" that Congress would consider legislation that would limit milk production, increase regulation and allow government interference in free markets. 

Thune sits on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, which will consider the legislation as part of the proposed Dairy Security Act, expected to be included in the Farm Bill.

"The dairy industry in South Dakota has been growing tremendously in recent years," the dairy leaders wrote to Thune. "Our investments in dairy manufacturing plants in the state bring new jobs as well as increased demand for milk from dairy farmers. In fact, we have been working with Governor Daugaard in his efforts to bring new milk production to our state in order to keep up with the growth in our operations."

Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN), ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, has called for including his proposed Dairy Security Act in the Farm Bill.

"It's also important to note that the opportunity for dairy expansion into global markets is terrific for our industry," the dairy leaders added. "Just a decade ago, our nation was a net importer of dairy products. Now, we export the equivalent of 15 percent of the milk produced by our nation's dairy farmers."

The manufacturers, all with facilities in South Dakota, conclude by asking Thune for his "leadership in opposing this approach for the dairy industry and our nation."

The full letter can be read here.

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $110-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85% of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. IDFA can be found online at www.idfa.org.