Land O'Lakes is a national, farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative, as well as a leading marketer of a full line of dairy-based consumer, foodservice and food ingredient products across the United States. Land O'Lakes membership includes 3,000 dairy producers. Delegates attending the cooperative's Annual Meeting on March 1, 2011, passed a resolution endorsing Foundation for the Future as the framework for a new dairy program.
"Land O'Lakes Board, in consultation with the delegates, recognizes that the draft legislation is consistent with the resolution that was passed by our members. This bill will help ensure that America's dairy producers -- including Land O'Lakes members -- are able to thrive in the future, after some very economically challenging years," said Pete Kappelman, chairman of the Land O'Lakes board of directors and a Wisconsin dairy producer.
Kappelman added, "Foundation for the Future -- and this draft legislation, which is based on it -- has the potential to dramatically improve the traditional approach to dairy policy and foster a more economically-viable and secure future for dairy producers. It serves as a new roadmap for dairy policy by focusing on margin protection, rather than price. This strategic shift is essential to a producer's profit potential. It also assures equitable treatment of producers, regardless of size or location."
Specifically, the approach includes:
- Replacing existing federal dairy support programs,
- Introducing a new margin protection program to protect producer equity,
- Reforming milk pricing regulations set by the Federal Milk Marketing Order system, and
- Implementing a program to address market imbalances.
According to Land O'Lakes president and CEO Chris Policinski, "We applaud the leadership of Congressmen Peterson and Simpson in putting forward this proposal. Their efforts have the potential to significantly improve dairy policy, which impacts the ability of American dairy producers to continue providing consumers in the U.S. and abroad with products that contribute to good health and nutrition."
The National Milk Producers Federation, of which Land O'Lakes is a member, hailed the discussion draft legislation as "an important step in demonstrating the bipartisan, national scope of the effort to reform dairy policy," according to NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak.
While not yet formally introduced, the dairy reform package text is available at: http://democrats.agriculture.house.gov/inside/Legislation/PETEMN_001_xml_071111.pdf . The legislative language is termed a discussion draft, rather than a bill, because it allows members of Congress to view the language, prior to it being formally introduced as a bill. Peterson and Simpson will be seeking additional co-sponsors from both parties of Congress when legislators return to session after Labor Day.
Kozak said that NMPF will continue working with Peterson and Simpson to build support for the legislative draft so that Congress can take it up for consideration as soon as possible after its August recess concludes.
From the August 31, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.