WASHINGTON, April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Food processor, restaurant and retailer groups voiced their strong support last week for the Dairy Freedom Act in a letter to the bill's authors, Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and David Scott (D-GA). The bill would offer the safety net of margin insurance for dairy farmers without forcing them to participate in a supply management program, a provision included in the dairy section of last year's Senate and House Agriculture Committee Farm Bills.
"We strongly support your bill that will establish support for dairy farmers without mandating that they participate in a new government dairy 'supply management' program," wrote more than three dozen signatories in the letter. "Your compromise, bipartisan proposal will help dairy farmers through tough economic times, but removes an unnecessary regulatory burden on dairy businesses and provides opportunity for market expansion, new jobs and economic growth."
The list of groups includes national organizations like the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, the National Grocers Association, the National Restaurant Association and the National Council of Chain Restaurants, as well as local groups like the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, the Alabama Grocers Association, South Dakota Retailers Association and the Texas Retailers Association. See the full list below and in the letter.
The Dairy Freedom Act, introduced last week by Representatives Goodlatte and Scott, provides a safety net for dairy farmers by establishing a new revenue insurance program for times of low milk prices and high feed costs. Unlike the Dairy Security Act, which was proposed last year but didn't gather sufficient support, the Dairy Freedom Act's insurance program is not tied to a controversial supply management program.
Opponents of supply management believe it would increase domestic prices on dairy products above international prices, make the American dairy industry less competitive and bring more government regulation and intervention into milk markets.
"We have learned from past experience that government management of commodity supply and demand does not work," the letter continued. "Restricting milk supplies will increase dairy product costs for consumers and will hurt dairy industry growth, leading to negative long-term consequences for dairy farms, processors, retailers, restaurants, consumers and taxpayers."
"Supporters of the Dairy Security Act want people to believe that this is simply a fight between dairy producers and dairy processors, yet the policy impacts the entire food industry," said Jerry Slominski, senior vice president of legislative and economic affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association, one of the signers and proponents of the Goodlatte-Scott approach. "That's why food manufacturers, grocery stores and restaurants, particularly chain and pizza restaurants, have joined IDFA to oppose government policies that artificially raise prices for the products they sell."
Read the letter here: http://www.idfa.org/files/coalition_letter_goodlatte_scott_042513final.pdf.
List of signatories as of 4/30/2013:
Alabama Grocers Association
American Pizza Community
Arizona Food Marketing Alliance
Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association
Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers
Dairy Institute of California
Delaware Food Industry Council
Carolinas Food Industry Council
Food Industry Alliance of New York
Food Marketing Institute
Grocery Manufacturers Association
Hawaii Food Industry Association
Idaho Retailers Association
Illinois Food Retailers Association
International Dairy Foods Association
Kansas Food Dealers Association
Louisiana Retailers Association
Maine Grocers Association
Maryland Retail Association
Massachusetts Food Association
Michigan Grocers Association
Minnesota Grocers Association
Missouri Grocers Association
Montana Food Distributors Association
National Council of Chain Restaurants
National Frozen Pizza Institute
National Grocers Association
National Restaurant Association
Nebraska Grocery Industry Association
New Hampshire Grocers Association
New Jersey Food Council
North Dakota Grocers Association
Northeast Dairy Foods Association, Inc.
Retail Grocers Association of Greater Kansas City
South Dakota Retailers Association
Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association
Texas Retailers Association
Utah Food Industry Association
Washington Food Industry Association
Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association
Wisconsin Grocers Association
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% of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. IDFA can be found online at www.idfa.org.
SOURCE International Dairy Foods Association