Manufacturing News

Producers and processors split on dairy bill

At issue is a mandatory supply management program.

May 12, 2013
KEYWORDS dairy / legislation
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

Innovation Center launches new tools for dairy producers

National organizations including the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Food Marketing Institute (FMI), National Grocers Association (NGA) and International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) have joined in support of the Dairy Freedom Act, an alternative to the Dairy Security Act included in last year’s Senate and House Farm Bills. But dairy producers have pushed back, saying the Dairy Freedom Act would harm farmers.

The Dairy Freedom Act was introduced by Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and David Scott (D-GA) to ditch the mandatory supply management program included in the Dairy Security Act. Industry, government and consumer stakeholders generally agree that federal policy reform must be enacted to provide a safety net for dairy producers, but disagreement remains over supply management programs. Goodlatte and Scott say supply management programs will “put federal government bureaucrats in the middle of dairy decisions by manipulating prices, instituting production quotas and penalizing consumers.” 

Consumer advocacy organizations Consumer Action, the Consumer Federation of America and the National Consumers League also oppose a supply management program. “The Dairy Market Stabilization Program is specifically designed to raise milk prices and would ultimately increase the prices that consumers pay for milk and dairy products,” states a letter sent to House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders this week. “We urge that you consider that programs which artificially increase milk prices will hit lower income consumers the most as they spend a higher proportion of their incomes on food than do other consumers.”

“This is a true middle ground approach as no one gets everything they want, and Congress should use it as a way to move the Farm Bill forward,” says IDFA’s Jerry Slominski of the Dairy Freedom Act.

But where processors fear unnecessary regulation and bureaucracy, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) remains wary of what it calls a “dairy processor-backed Trojan Horse.” NMPF says the Goodlatte-Scott proposal contains no mechanism for putting the brakes on excess milk production, ensuring a cheap supply for corporations while keeping prices low for farmers. The group also warns against an “unacceptable attempt by dairy processors to assure themselves access to a sea of taxpayer-subsidized cheap milk.”

For now, it appears producers may get their wish. The version of the Farm Bill expected to be brought before the full Senate this month includes the mandatory supply management program Goodlatte-Scott would ditch, but the political wrangling is likely to continue until the final votes have been tallied.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Shane O'Halloran

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering December 2014 Cover

2014 December

In the December 2014 issue of Food Engineering read about our Fabulous Food Plant feature on the Chelten House, a new facility in Las Vegas.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

FSMA Audit

What is the is most important step you have taken to become ready for a FSMA audit?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.