Summary of June 22 House Ag Committee Hearing - DAIRY
Farm Bill: House Ag Committee Hearing (by the Full Committee): A review of provisions in current Farm Bill related to Dairy Issues in preparation for the upcoming re-writing of the next Farm Bill took place. Many believe the language of this Farm Bill is crucial to the future of the southeast dairy industry, and it is highly suggested that anyone with dairy industry interests keep abreast of the process, which is in its early stages..
Georgia Representatives sitting on the House Ag Committee include: Rep. David Scott (D, GA 13), Committee Chair; Rep. Sanford Bishop (D, GA-02); Rep. Austin Scott (R, GA 08), and Rick Allen (R, GA 12).
The complete House Ag Committee includes several representatives from neighboring Southeast states - Find the complete list here.
Link: WATCH a VIDEO on the House Ag Youtube Channel
What you need to know: The complete video is approximately 3 1/2 half hours long. All parts of it are interesting - if you wish to hear only certain parts, the first panel (see below) lasts about 2 hours, and the second panel about an hour and a half; use your slider appropriately.
Chairman Scott repeatedly stated the accelerated loss of 'family farms' and 'smaller family farms' was disturbing to both he and the Committee, and they would like to do something to prevent that acceleration of loss, but yet did not further quantify or define the terms 'small' or 'family farm.'
Sound Bites / Takeaways:
- Most of the testimony was positive concerning the Dairy Margin Coverage Program, with several observations the coverage limit needs to increased to more than 5 Million pounds (no pound level cited).
- The Dairy Donation Program was also mentioned as a success, particularly because it could get highly nutritious surplus dairy products to lower income families and children, but program perhaps needs some refinement
- A 'thinking out loud' point was that Dairy Business Innovation Initiative funds could be utilized for 'climate' practices
From IDFA: to ask Congress to instruct USDA to conduct more regular Cost of Manufacturing Studies, with mandatory participation (only 1/3 of manufacturing facilities participated in Stephenson's most recent Make Allowance study)
- A question was asked of the panel: 'Do you see a place for smaller producers?' - Dr. Bozic is concerned that 'sustainability' costs will be a factor (digesters an example)
Written Testimony Statements:
Panel: Access Statements of All Panelists
Suggested: Dr. Marin Bozic's introductory statement reviews and explains FMMO purposes: Read here.
Chairman: Chairman David Scott's Opening Statement, in which he noted that 'licensed dairy herds fell by half from 2002 to 2019,' and 'we must look at the needs of small farmers,' and his Closing Statement
Ranking Member: PA Rep. GT Thompson posted his Opening Statement, and closed with this observation: 'Dairy is a nutrition powerhouse, but we lost a generation of milk-drinkers when milkfat was taken out of our schools in 2010, and we badly need to turn that around. I continue to push for my bipartisan Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act, which has very strong support across this Committee and Congress and hope we can make some progress there'.
Dana Coale, Deputy Administrator, AMS Dairy Program, USDA
Scott Marlow, Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs, FSA, USDA
Lolly Lesher, Way-Har Farms, Pennsylvania, representing NMPF
Mr. Mike Durkin, President/CEO, Leprino, representing IDFA
Mr. Travis Forgues, VP of Membership, Organic Valley / CROPP
Dr. Marin Bozic, Asst. Professor of Applied Economics, U. of MN
Southeast set to lose seat on National Dairy Board;
Comments needed by July 25th to prevent that loss of representation
AMS recently announced they wish to realign the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, and reduce the number of seats representing the Southeast (Region 10) from 2 to 1, while concurrently increasing the seats available to Region 8 (Idaho) from 2 to 3. The Southeast serves a consumer base of a much larger area than Idaho, and producers in the Southeast ship a higher percentage of their milk for fluid processing purposes.
The National Dairy Promotion and Research Program is more commonly known as the Dairy Checkoff Program. It is funded by a 15 cts./ cwt deduction from a producer's milk check. 5 cents of that 15 is mandated to go toward the national program, while every state has the option of determining the direction of 10 cts./ cwt.
The original notice of the change was published last fall on Sept. 21, 2021, with an original closing date for comments to be posted by Oct. 21. Due to several comments submitted supporting keeping 2 representatives in Region 10, the comment period was reopened
If you wish for the Southeast to keep a second seat, you have until July 25th to comment at Regulations.gov. Your voice matters!
Georgia Dairy Farmers Unanimously Approve Continuation of Assessment for GMP
(News Release, GA Dept. of Agriculture)
(Atlanta, GA) Georgia dairy farmers voted in balloting held May 1 through May 30, to continue the one cent assessment per hundred pounds of milk to support the GA Milk Producers.
The vote was 100% for continuation with over 40% of the farmers returning ballots. This assessment is in addition to the checkoff that is part of the Federal Milk Program which allows ten cents per hundred to be sent to the Georgia Milk Commission.
The money for Georgia Milk Producers allows for operation, education, and promotion conducted by the Georgia Milk Producers. Georgia Milk Producers, Inc. supports dairy farmers in Georgia with education programs such as the annual Georgia Dairy Conference held each January in Savannah, GA.
Georgia is 23rd in the nation in total dairy production, and last month surpassed Florida in fluid milk production.
The Georgia dairy farmer is committed to producing high quality fluid milk and quality care and nutrition for their cattle.
Bo Warren, Policy and Communications
Amir Sports, Media Specialist
Vacation? Do You Visit a Dairy Farm?
Most of you know that Caitlyn and Mark Rodgers, of Dearing, write a blog post for Hoard's Dairyman. Caitlyn recently captured her thoughts on vacation in this post:
Vacations and Dairy Farms
Are you really a dairy farmer if you don't visit other dairies when you go out of town?
Producers Still Have a Strong Advocate!
Farrah Newberry will continue to practice her passion for dairy in her new role as Director of Corporate Communications at the Dairy Alliance. The Georgia Farm Monitor skillfully captures the vision of the previous Executive Director of GMP as she explains her beliefs for connecting consumers with the goodness of milk and its producers! Click and Watch!
What have you done in your neck of the woods to promote Milk and Dairy Foods in June Dairy Month?
It would be great if any of you emailed links, photos or news of some of your activities to email@example.com!
Cheers to Dairy Month!
Julie Walker, on behalf of Georgia Milk Producers
Thanks to our friends at The Dairy Alliance for this Georgia Dairy Facts graphic!