The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., commended the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee on June 13 for approving a farm bill, with a 20-to-1 bipartisan vote, that allows for greater access to risk management tools for dairy processors and producers to address price fluctuations. The legislation also extends the Dairy Forward Pricing Program to 2023, improves the safety net for dairy farmers and creates a new milk incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to improve participants' diets by increasing fluid milk consumption, IDFA said.  

"Managing price risk and increasing consumption are the dairy industry's key priorities, and we commend Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., for drafting a farm bill that will provide increased health benefits to consumers, while empowering dairy processors and producers to help fuel the American economy," said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA’s president and CEO.

The committee included an IDFA-endorsed proposal from Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, that would encourage SNAP participants to buy more milk and gain nutrients essential to good health that many Americans are missing in their diets, IDFA noted.

"IDFA worked closely with Sen. Ernst and her staff to develop the proposal for a SNAP pilot program that will encourage Americans receiving food assistance to protect their health and strengthen their bones and muscles," Dykes said. "Only one in 10 Americans consumes the number of servings of dairy a day recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This proposal takes a crucial step toward narrowing this gap, especially for low-income families with children."

IDFA also welcomed the committee's decision to include a new Milk Donation Program, as well as enhancements to the Margin Protection Program (MPP), a voluntary safety net program for dairy farmers. The Milk Donation Program would allow dairy processors and producers to team with charitable organizations to donate milk to people in need and to reduce food waste.

"U.S. dairy products companies support nearly 3 million jobs, generate more than $39 billion in direct wages and have an overall economic impact of more than $628 billion. Our powerful engine for American jobs and economic stimulus will only continue to contribute and grow under this farm bill," Dykes said.