As key milestones are being met in offering much-needed financial relief for dairy producers, the National Milk Producers Federation today thanked the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture for choosing dairy as the subject of its first hearing this year.
Lawmakers heard a diverse array of witnesses who provided important perspectives on the state of U.S. dairy, which is in its fifth year of low prices and its second year of trade-related hardships. In their opening statements:
- Minnesota dairy farmer Sadie Frericks spoke of the importance of the new Dairy Margin Coverage program as a risk management tool as her family weathers economic challenges;
- California Dairies, Inc. President and CEO Andrei Mikhalevsky provided an overview of dairy’s trade issues, a rising concern as exports are crucial to increasing dairy demand;
- Pennsylvania dairy farmer Dave Smith, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, discussed additional challenges, including the importance of milk consumption in schools and the need to combat mislabeled fake milks in the marketplace.
- New York dairy farmer Michael McMahon gave voice to the dairy industry’s unique workforce challenges, including the lack of a viable guest worker program that covers year-round workers
- and Dr. Scott Brown, Director of Strategic Partnerships for the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, provided economic insight.
“Dairy’s challenges reverberate through the U.S. economy, and it’s appropriate that lawmakers put dairy first on its 2019 agenda,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We thank all of the farmers and industry leaders who spoke out. We also commend subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) and ranking member Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC), as well as Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Collin Peterson, (D-MN), who took the time to speak at the hearing, for their attention to dairy’s urgent needs.”
The NMPF continues to encourage farmers to prepare for Dairy Margin Coverage signup, scheduled to begin June 17. The USDA’s decision tool, designed to help farmers determine their appropriate coverage level, is now online here. Later this week, letters will be sent to producers informing them of their premium refunds under the previous Margin Protection Program.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. NMPF’s member cooperatives produce the majority of U.S. milk, making NMPF the voice of dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more, visit www.nmpf.org.