Idaho congressman Mike Simpson is the lead Republican in support of the House Ag Committee’s Dairy Security Act.
Source: Idaho Dairymen’s Association news release
The bill was introduced Friday in the House of Representatives by the House Agriculture Committee’s ranking member, Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).
"This is a bold step, but it’s not surprising," says Mike Roth, dairy producer and IDA president. "As a representative of the nation’s third-largest dairy-producing district, and as a co-chair of the Congressional Dairy Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Simpson understands the challenges. He knows what it takes to safeguard the economic well-being of the dairy industry in Idaho and across the U.S."
Last March, Idaho dairy producers voted to recommend
a dramatic reform package – Foundation for the Future
(FFTF) – which served as the model for the Dairy Security Act of 2011. During that vote, 86% of Idaho’s dairy producers were represented. FFTF is an effort spearheaded by dairy producers and cooperative members of the National Milk Producers Federation
"Rep. Simpson is a longtime advocate for business growth and Idaho’s livestock agriculture," Roth says. "He knows a new dairy policy is needed to help manage price volatility, create safety nets and move the dairy industry in a positive and economically sound direction. During the 2008 crisis, when milk prices collapsed and export markets declined, many dairy operations left the business.
"Today we are facing elevated feed cost coupled with declining milk prices, creating a dynamic where many Idaho dairy families are facing dire situations," Roth adds. "Congressman Simpson knows that there is no future in dairies operating under current government dairy policies; status quo is not a viable option."
The new bill promotes and, in some areas, expands
components of the dairy industry plan. Like FFTF, the Dairy Security Act includes a voluntary margin insurance program and a Dairy Market Stabilization Program, which work together to encourage lower milk production during periods of declining market demand and low margins.
"There are also improvements in this bill," says Bob Naerebout, IDA’s executive director. "For instance, the basic level of margin insurance coverage increased from 75% to 80% of a producer’s production history, the supplemental margin insurance allows producers to purchase more coverage for milk production growth, new provisions protect U.S. dairy export markets, and proposed changes simplify the Federal Milk Marketing Orders pricing system and the pricing of Class III milk [milk used to manufacture cheese]."
IDA calls on the nation’s dairy producers to rally their support behind the Dairy Security Act of 2011. "I urge fellow Idaho dairy producers to attend the upcoming IDA Annual Meeting
in Boise on Nov. 9-10 to learn more about this bill and other issues affecting this state and the national dairy industry," Roth says.
IDA, based in Twin Falls, Idaho, was established to continue to develop and sustain an economically viable Idaho dairy industry that works together to achieve success in the domestic and global marketplace in meeting the needs of Idaho dairy farm families. Founded in 1944, IDA represents all dairy producers within the state of Idaho.