Minnesota congressman also tells dairy groups to keep the pressure on EPA.
SAN DIEGO -- The dairy industry deserves kudos for developing a dairy reform proposal that modernizes industry policy, provides a safety net and seeks to maximize exports, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said today.
And dairy’s efforts are particularly notable amid “so much bickering in the agriculture industry” in the nation’s capital, said Peterson, the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee
Speaking via video from Washington, D.C., Peterson addressed attendees gathered at a trifecta of dairy meetings here. Some 980 dairy producers and industry representatives have gathered for the joint annual meetings of the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the United Dairy Association.
“I want to thank NMPF for its leadership in trying to improve dairy policy,” Peterson said. “We’ve been able to get pretty good consensus in the dairy industry. The reason is because of all the work NMPF has done.”
Peterson and other members of the House Ag Committee have worked to keep Congress abreast of the dairy industry’s efforts, he said. “With the Super Committee, we’re in a position to get the process resolved as part of the truncated Farm Bill process,” said Peterson.
Other commodity groups have not reached the level of dairy’s progress. Regional differences remain a problem for many commodity groups, he said.
Peterson said he has also worked to address the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the “big problem” of bills introduced on both real and bogus issues. Among those is the issue of farm dust. “[EPA administrator] Lisa Jackson told me personally that EPA has no intention of regulating farm dust,” said Peterson.
“Keep the pressure on your congressional representatives to keep the pressure on EPA,” he added.
Peterson also thanked the dairy industry for the “circumspect” way it had approached ethanol-related issues. “The ethanol industry is as big as it’s going to get,” he said. “We will produce enough corn to feed livestock and for ethanol. Corn prices will come into better balance."