The Dairy Industry Advisory Committee, established by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, met yesterday and today in Washington, D.C., making this the third time the committee has convened. At the meeting, IDFA submitted a letter to Chairman Andy Novakovic outlining the negative impact that a proposal mandating the addition of higher milk solids to all U.S. milk would have on consumers and the dairy industry.
The letter referenced a report released in August by the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) that validates why IDFA has long opposed higher, mandatory fluid milk solids standards. According to the report, these standards would raise retail milk prices, increase the costs of federal nutrition programs and reduce dairy exports.
IDFA also pointed to evidence showing that requiring higher standards for nonfat solids in milk could hurt consumption and would increase the calories per serving of milk.
Bob Yonkers, IDFA vice president and chief economist, covered the FAPRI report in this month's Dairy Market Update. He also was one of five dairy experts and economists invited to participate as a panelist at the committee meeting to have a dialogue with committee members and answer their questions about dairy policy reform.
The committee is charged with reviewing farm milk price volatility, as well as dairy farmer profitability and consolidation. It will recommend ways that the U.S. Department of Agriculture can address the needs of the dairy industry.
Of the 17 committee members, three represent IDFA member companies: Jay Bryant, Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Inc.; Patricia Stroup, Nestle USA, Inc.; and Sue Taylor, Leprino Foods Company.