Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), released the following statement on Nov. 8 regarding the Congressional passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:

“The International Dairy Foods Association applauds passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — the nation’s largest investment in improving public infrastructure since the 1950s. The bill promises to deliver federal funding to improve roads, bridges, ports, railways and other parts of our transportation networks that have fallen into disrepair and hampered our economy’s growth.

“The act invests in long-term improvements to capacity and technology at our seaports and goes a long way toward strengthening America’s competitiveness in global trade. For example, the U.S. dairy industry currently exports 16% of our milk in products like cheese, whey, milk powder, infant formula, UHT milk and so much more. IDFA members believe the future success of our industry is tied directly to our ability to export more U.S. dairy to destinations around the world, and this bill begins to address some of the challenges that have limited our competitiveness.

“The competitiveness of our nation’s food and agricultural businesses is also reliant on maintaining strong cyber defenses, and that’s why IDFA is pleased to see the bill fund efforts to harden the nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure against breaches and attacks. To help address constraints in trucking, including insufficient truck drivers and outdated rules of the road, the infrastructure act creates important benchmarks to bring more female drivers into the workforce and creates an important pilot project allowing truck drivers between the ages of 18 [and] 20 to drive interstate. Finally, the bipartisan act makes game changing investments in expanding broadband to connect our dairy producers, processors, suppliers and retailers in rural and hard-to-reach areas with consumers and customers everywhere.

“While there is much work to do to address the COVID-related supply chain challenges affecting our economy, the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry and our more than 3.3 million workers applaud passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The bill is a critical investment in building a better functioning supply chain that will improve American competitiveness and support continued growth in U.S. dairy.”