Statement of Jerry Slominski
IDFA Senior Vice President for Legislative Affairs and Economic Policy
Encouraging Farm Bill Conferees to Accept the House Dairy Title
"IDFA looks forward to a successful completion of a new farm bill and strongly encourages the Conference Committee to accept the House dairy language and to include its provisions in the final bill. Milk prices would significantly increase and jobs will be lost if the Senate prevails over the House on this issue. The conference should follow the lead of the House of Representatives, which rejected this controversial new dairy program to impose milk quotas on dairy farmers by a more than two to one margin -- 291-135 -- including almost half of the House Democrats. Including a proposal that was rejected with such a strong and rare bipartisan vote makes little sense if conferees truly want to get a farm bill passed yet this year.
"The Senate's version of the farm bill includes a new "dairy stabilization program" that was decisively rejected by the House and according to the Congressional Research Service, is designed to raise milk prices. It is a hidden tax on our nation's more than 47 million people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and would reduce their ability to meet USDA nutrition guidelines, which recommend three servings of dairy products per day. The Senate's proposal to increase milk prices could erode SNAP recipients' ability to meet dairy nutrition recommendations by as much as $1.9 billion, which is equal to a nearly 50 percent increase in the SNAP cuts already included in the Senate bill. The incorrectly named stabilization program will also put the brakes on dairy export growth at a cost of thousands of new jobs.
"The House dairy title strongly supports our nation's 50,000 dairy farmers by including a new and effective revenue insurance program that will help them when prices drop. The House title more effectively targets benefits to small producers and costs about the same as the Senate dairy title. By eliminating the controversial and divisive stabilization program, the House language is a compromise approach that should be retained in the final bill."