The Missouri House of Representatives has passed the "Missouri Dairy Revitalization Act of 2014" (HB 1326) by an overwhelming vote of 137-4. HB 1326 is sponsored by Representatives Casey Guernsey (District 2) and Bill Reiboldt (District 160).
The bill now awaits consideration by the Missouri Senate.
"We are very pleased our Representatives recognized the plight of Missouri's dairy industry in meeting the need for local milk for our 15 dairy processing plants," says Larry Purdom, president of the Missouri Dairy Association (MDA) and a dairy farmer from Purdy.
"With the loss of dairy farms continuing in Missouri at an alarming rate due to drought and poor margins, the pressure of finding local milk for our plants has reached a critical stage. One plant closed last year at Monett with the loss of 60 jobs," says Purdom.
"We too were pleased with this vote," says Ted Barlows, president of the Missouri Dairy Products Association (MDPA) and Sales Manager for Hiland Dairy in Springfield.
"Concern for job stability and economic activity are huge factors behind passing this bill now.
"A University of Missouri study showed in 2011 that Missouri's dairy product manufacturing industries directly employed 5,515 workers with a total state payroll of $258 million. Missouri's dairy manufacturing plants produced an estimated $4.4 billion worth of dairy products.
"Missouri's dairy product manufacturing industry revenues translated into statewide total economic output worth $7.7 billion. When you include the jobs, created at the farm level and with additional suppliers, a total of 23,297 jobs were supported providing $1.2 billion in labor income to Missourians in 2011.
"Missouri's gross domestic product (GDP) was $2.0 billion larger due to the value added by
Missouri's dairy product manufacturing industries," says Barlows.
"This isn't small potatoes. But it all starts at the farm with the dairy farmer and his/her cows furnishing the local milk supply," concludes Purdom