During her opening remarks Tuesday at the International Dairy Foods Association's Washington Conference, IDFA's president and CEO blasted recent proposals that would create a government-mandated system to limit the supply of milk produced by dairy farms. A "supply-management" proposal was recently introduced in the House of Representatives and a similar proposal was included as part of a dairy policy reform plan released last week by the National Milk Producers Federation.
"I'm not going to mince words," President and CEO Connie Tipton told more than 80 dairy company leaders. "Supply management will destroy our dairy industry's opportunity for the future."
Tipton said that government-mandated supply-management programs, intended to reduce price volatility for dairy farmers, will only add more complexity to the system and will decrease demand for dairy products and dairy ingredients by encouraging non-dairy substitutions in foods and restaurants across the country.
"Dairy processors are sensitive to the market situation for farmers, and we are well aware that dairy producers are coming out of a period of devastating margins," said Tipton. "But we need a solution that offers support AND opportunity."
Tipton said that increasing demand for dairy products in global markets provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. dairy industry to grow and prosper. "Supply management will stop U.S. dairy exports at a time when emerging markets are crying out for more dairy products," she said. "Supply management will kill the growth of the U.S. dairy industry and prevent us from adding jobs that will help with our nation's economic recovery."
Tipton added that supply management will raise the price for basic foods and will cost the U.S. government hundreds of millions more to fund food and nutrition programs that are the priority of the Obama administration. "IDFA has successfully fought supply management in many previous farm policy debates, and it is an idea that we need to fight hard to defeat," Tipton said.
She called upon dairy producers, dairy coops, cattlemen and other national agriculture organizations that oppose supply management to join with IDFA to defeat supply management for the U.S. dairy industry.
Held in conjunction with the 28th annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party, Washington Conference provides IDFA members with insights into pending legislation and provides networking opportunities with key members of Congress and top federal officials.
The full text of Tipton's address to members is available at www.idfa.org