Top executives of six of the country's biggest dairy exporters strongly object to the Dairy Security Act of 2011. In a letter sent to members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, they outlined the negative effects the act would have on domestic and global dairy markets and said it has no place in deficit-reduction talks. It is expected that the dairy program will be part of the recommendations submitted by House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders to the supercommittee for inclusion in the debt-reduction bill.
"We are writing to express our concern and opposition to a pending milk supply control policy called the Dairy Market Stabilization Program that is being endorsed by the leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees," the business leaders told super committee members.
The letter was signed by executives at Davisco Foods International, Inc.; Glanbia Foods; Hilmar Cheese Company; Saputo Cheese USA Inc.; Sargento Foods Inc.; and Schreiber Foods, Inc.
"The very existence of a government supply control program for dairy will be a signal to our competitors and trading partners that the U.S. is not a serious and reliable long-term supplier. The stabilization program will create significant market uncertainty and increase risk calculations for our businesses that will discourage future investment into new domestic facilities and new export markets," they explained.
The business leaders noted that exports have grown by nearly $3 billion and that U.S. dairy manufacturers now export the equivalent of nearly 14 percent of the farm milk produced in our country.
They took particular exception to the claim by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, that it is a "myth" that his bill will have a negative impact on export growth and that he has responded to these concerns.
"We strongly believe that the Dairy Market Stabilization Program will have a negative impact on dairy exports, cannot be fixed by turning it off after exports start declining and should not be part of a bill whose purpose is to reduce federal spending," they concluded.
The six companies are members of the International Dairy Foods Association, a trade association that represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers. PD
—International Dairy Foods Association press release