Washington, DC — Today, Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) introduced bipartisan legislation to establish a Dairy Pricing and Policy Commission to recommend solutions to the issues facing family farmers and help secure the future of Wisconsin dairy. For the past several years Wisconsin family farmers have faced historic challenges, highlighting the need to take action to identify and implement reforms to ensure dairy farmers have the tools they need to thrive.
The Dairy Pricing and Policy Commission would consist of a broad coalition of dairy farmers, dairy processors, and other industry experts who would provide recommendations on how to address some of the biggest challenges facing our dairy farmers today, including options on how to:
- Evaluate and identify challenges and opportunities for new markets for dairy exports
- Respond to periods of heightened dairy production during low prices by considering better supply chain coordination
- Consider Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) reforms
“Even before the COVID-19 crisis, Wisconsin dairy farmers had been facing difficult conditions,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “Our family farmers are the heart of our rural communities, and we need to work to ensure the future of Wisconsin dairy remains bright. Especially as June Dairy Month draws to a close, I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation that will bring everyone to the table to discuss the issues facing our dairy farmers and find solutions to ensure they can continue to succeed.”
“Dairy farms are central to Wisconsin’s identity. But for more than five years, a historically challenging environment has devastated the dairy economy across our state,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher. “We need to help these farmers get back on their feet, and that starts with bringing together experts across the agricultural, academic, and dairy industries to better inform Congress on policies that will change the status quo.”
“Family dairy farms are essential to a vibrant future in Wisconsin, but they are rapidly disappearing amid low and volatile prices. The Dairy Pricing and Policy Commission Act will help identify solutions to move us forward on a path to profitability. Wisconsin Farmers Union commends Congressmen Kind and Gallagher for this bipartisan effort and continued support for Wisconsin dairy farmers,” said Wisconsin Farmers Union President Darin Von Ruden.
“We appreciate Congressmen Kind and Gallagher’s effort in spotlighting the struggles of dairy farmers, not only in Wisconsin but across the nation,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Kevin Krentz. “I am hopeful the Dairy Pricing and Policy Commission can complement our efforts at the state level to give a full accounting and recommendations for changes to dairy’s pricing system. Additional balance needs to be injected into our supply chain so farmers can receive a fair price for their products.”
Rep. Kind has been a long-time advocate for expanding export opportunities, protecting farmers from market volatility, and ensuring accurate labeling for plant-based products marketed as dairy alternatives, priorities he outlined for the 2018 Farm Bill. Earlier this month, Rep. Ron Kind released his Family Farm Action Plan, which includes preserving family dairy farming, expanding exports and enforcing trade agreements, ensuring rural broadband access, protecting organic standards, and supporting land and water conservation programs.