Today, Rep. Thomas J. Rooney, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry held a hearing on reforming dairy programs in the 2012 Farm Bill. This is the third of eight hearings which are gathering agricultural leaders in Washington to share their perspective on farm policy.
Witnesses discussed problems with current dairy programs and provided feedback on proposals being considered to address those inadequacies. Dr. Scott Brown, Assistant Research Professor at the University of Missouri, provided economic analysis of policies under discussion. Other witnesses shared their perspective on the potential impacts of dairy reform.
"At our dairy audit hearing last fall, we got a sense for the inadequacy of some of our current dairy programs. We know that innovative ideas are needed in order to ensure our programs support our producers, facilitate product and market development, and continue to maintain the availability of safe, abundant, and affordable product for our consumers. While consensus is building around some of the proposed reforms to dairy programs that we can implement in the Farm Bill, today's hearing focused on some controversial elements, and that's why it was critical for us to receive the economic analysis that we did in order to gain an understanding about how these new recommendations would work and what their impacts would be," said Chairman Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL).
"As policy makers, we must be sensitive to the different geographical challenges and work to craft a consensus package that meets the needs of most if not all. It is extremely important that facts and data drive the discussion as we work to craft a solution that will smooth out the roller coaster of highs and lows," said Ranking Member Dennis A. Cardoza (D-CA).