WASHINGTON (PRNewswire-USNewswire) — Twenty-eight dairy manufacturers, including some of the largest food companies in the United States, have sent letters to the Senate conferees for the 2013 Farm Bill, calling on them to accept the House-passed dairy title that does not include a controversial new program that would periodically limit milk supplies.
The program, called the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, was included in the Farm Bill as passed by the Senate in June. But in July, the House rejected the controversial program by more than a two-to-one margin, 291-135. In a rare show of bipartisanship, 95 Democrats joined 196 Republicans in support of compromise dairy language that establishes a new and effective revenue insurance program for dairy farmers but removes the divisive stabilization program.
"The Senate bill would require dairy farmers enrolled in a margin insurance program to periodically limit the amount of milk their farms can sell," the letter reads. "And it would empower USDA to regulate our businesses, by requiring us to withhold a portion of our commercial market payments to dairy farmers who supply milk to our manufacturing plants and submit these funds to USDA instead.
"We believe this convoluted system is the wrong approach," the manufacturers said. "Dairy farmers who take advantage of the margin insurance should not be required to participate in a program that would have the government directly interfere in the milk supply. Limiting the milk supply will discourage further investment and growth in our industry and will impose additional and unnecessary regulations on our businesses."
The companies are members of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), which has led the opposition to government-mandated production limits.
"The House-passed bill allows dairy companies, particularly dairy exporters, to continue to grow and create jobs," said Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative and economic affairs. "It provides an effective new safety net to help dairy farmers through difficult times without reducing the effectiveness of our government's nutritional safety net."
In Georgia, Blue Bell Creameries L.P., The Kroger Co., Nestle USA, Inc. and Dean Foods Company (Mayfield Dairy Farms) wrote to Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), a Senate Agriculture Committee member and Farm Bill conferee.
In Iowa, Anderson Erickson Dairy Company, Wells Enterprises, Inc., Nestle USA, Inc., Dean Foods Company and Kraft Foods Group, Inc. wrote to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), a Farm Bill conferee.
In Texas, Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc., Borden Dairy Company, Schreiber Foods, Inc., The Dannon Company, Inc., Plains Dairy, LLC, Blue Bell Creameries L.P., The Kroger Co., Nestle USA, Inc., Dean Foods Company (Gandy Dairy Products/Oak Farms Dairy/Price's Creamerie) and Saputo, Inc. signed on to a letter to Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).
In Michigan, Abbott Nutrition, The Kroger Co., Nestle USA, Inc., Dean Foods Company (Jilbert Dairy/Country Fresh) and Leprino Foods Company wrote to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
In Minnesota, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) received a letter signed by Davisco Foods International, Inc., The Kroger Co., Nestle USA, Inc., Dean Foods Company, Saputo, Inc., Kraft Foods Group, Inc. and International Dairy Queen, Inc.
In Florida, The Ice Cream Club, Inc., Franklin Foods, Blue Bell Creameries L.P., Borden Dairy Company (McArthur Dairy/T.G. Lee Dairy), Nestle USA, Inc. and Dean Foods Company wrote to Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
In Ohio, The Dannon Company, Inc., Borden Dairy Company of Ohio, LLC, Abbott Nutrition, The Kroger Co., Pierre's Ice Cream Company, Smith Dairy Products (Dairy Enterprises Inc.), Nestle USA, Inc., Dean Foods Company (Broughton Foods/Frostbite Novelty/Reiter Dairy), Great Lakes Cheese Co., Inc. and Kraft Foods Group, Inc. signed on to a letter to Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
And in Pennsylvania, Schreiber Foods, Inc., Carl Colteryahn Dairy, Inc., Turkey Hill Dairy, Inc., Galliker Dairy Company, Hershey Creamery Company, HP Hood LLC (Penn Maid/Crowley Foods), The Kroger Co., Alouette Cheese LLC, Nestle USA, Inc., Dean Foods Company (Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms/Schuylkill/Meadowbrook Dairy/Swiss Premium Dairy) and Kraft Foods Group, Inc. wrote to Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA).
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $125-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. IDFA can be found at www.idfa.org.