In testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture today, Colorado dairy producer Les Hardesty highlighted industry efforts to develop a single national dairy policy that addresses volatility and provides stronger support for dairy farmers in times of low prices.
During the field hearing in Cheyenne, Wyo., Hardesty also underscored the need for lawmakers to take action ahead of the 2012 Farm Bill.
"While I understand and appreciate the timeline you have outlined for farm bill policy development, I want to stress that the idea of waiting until 2012 to reform dairy policy leaves many of us concerned,” said Hardesty, who serves on the Executive Committee for Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.'s (DFA) board of directors. "Dairy leaders are working hard to develop consensus within the industry yet this year. Dairy producers will be anxious for its implementation.”
Hardesty, who also was named chairman of the U.S. Dairy Export Council last week, described efforts by DFA, other dairy cooperatives and industry organizations such as National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), who have been working together in an effort to build that consensus for future national dairy policy that allows for growth in the industry while addressing price volatility.
Recognizing that broad consensus would be critical to moving any proposed policy changes forward, DFA's board adopted a growth management concept called the Dairy Growth Management Initiative. As was intended with its conception, core concepts outlined in the initiative are being incorporated in the policy proposal currently being developed by NMPF's Strategic Planning Task Force.
"Efforts at collaboration are proving successful,” Hardesty said. "We look forward to working toward a unified proposal with NMPF, its member cooperatives and other organizations interested in the success and longevity of the U.S. dairy sector.”
Source: Dairy Farmers of America news release