Producers Urged to Reach Out to Legislators in Support of Dairy Security Act

November 15, 2011 05:54 PM

National Milk Producers Federation promotes dairy reform package at its annual meeting.

SAN DIEGO -- Officials with the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today urged dairy producers to contact their congressional representatives to support the proposed Dairy Security Act (DSA) that promises major reforms in U.S. dairy policy.

Calling the dairy policy package the most scrutinized in recent decades, Jim Tillison, NMPF’s senior vice president of marketing and economic research, said the organization had done all it could do in moving dairy reform forward.

“Now it’s up to you,” Tillison told the audience of 900 producers and industry representatives at NMPF’s annual meeting here.

Joining Tillison during the meeting’s “Town Hall” session, NMPF chairman Randy Mooney also called for producers to rally behind the proposed legislation, known as HR 3062.  “For the first time, we are looking at a program that signals to producers when supply and demand are out of whack,” said Mooney, a Missouri dairy producer.

The dairy reform package has changed since its inception as Foundation for the Future, Mooney added. “It’s a better program as a result,” he said.

“But it will take more than [NMPF president and CEO] Jerry Kozak and his team to push this through,” Mooney added. “We [producers] need this. Call your Congressman or Senator if you want to keep what you’ve got, because it’s certain we’ll lose more equity if another downturn comes.”

Kozak told the group the DSA was not perfect and did not please everyone but it offered the industry a program that would provide a safety net against catastrophic years such as 2009. He said lenders as well as the American Farm Bureau have endorsed the DSA.

Although deliberations are still underway, Kozak said he was “optimistic” that the principles that had been developed over the past two years – evolving from Foundation for the Future to the DSA – would be enacted. “But we still have a way to go,” he said.

Tillison compared changes between the original Foundation for the Future plan and the DSA that has replaced it. Those changes include making the market stabilization component voluntary rather than mandatory, and an annual administrative fee for participating producers. In addition, all monies collected through the proposal’s Dairy Market Stabilization Program will go toward purchasing dairy products for distribution to the needy.

The DSA also replaces the end-use price formulas, including the make allowance, with competitive prices for determining the Class III milk price. All previous pricing provisions of the current system remain unchanged.

The speakers encouraged producers to visit NMPF’s “Dairy G.R.E.A.T” website  for help in contacting their congressional representatives.

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