Dairy Farmers of America Visit Capitol Hill to Discuss Farm Bill, AgJOBS and Other Dairy Issues

More than 400 Legislative Visits this Year
September 14, 2007

Kansas City, Mo. - Forty-seven Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) board members met with members of Congress in Washington, D.C. last week to discuss important dairy issues including the 2007 Farm Bill, AgJOBS, CERCLA and the Clean Water Act. During their visit, DFA board members and staff greeted more than 175 legislators and staff at a reception and discussed dairy issues during more than 70 individual meetings on Capitol Hill.

DFA board members, Young Cooperators and other member leaders have participated in more than 400 legislative visits this year. Visits have focused primarily on farm bill and immigration.

The board members from across the country urged their senators to support the 2007 Farm Bill and thanked those representatives that supported the House version of the Farm Bill this summer. The group also informed their legislators of the importance of the passage of AgJOBS—a bill that has broad support in the dairy industry, as well as many other segments of agriculture—and focuses on a wide range of immigration issues facing agriculture.

“As the Senate prepares to discuss the 2007 Farm Bill, it is important that our elected officials understand the needs of America’s dairy farmers and how their decisions affect our livelihood,” says Tom Camerlo of Florence, Colo., chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors. “During these visits we discussed the key points of the 2007 Farm Bill with our senators, and encouraged both our senators and members of the house to pass AgJOBS.”

DFA supports key points in the 2007 Farm Bill including: Dairy Price Support, Milk Producer Security and Risk Management programs; expansions for Nutrition, Public and Animal Health, and Export Incentive and Promotion programs; improvements in conservation programs; and the addition of renewable energy provisions and a promotion assessment on imports.

In addition to the Farm Bill and AgJOBS, board members also highlighted other critical issues facing the dairy industry including the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Clean Water Act. Highlights of the bills include:

  • AgJOBS – DFA encourages lawmakers to support the enactment of the bipartisan Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2007. AgJOBS has been reintroduced into the Senate and House of Representatives with broad support, as S. 340 and H.R. 371.
  • CERCLA – Clarification is needed that the Superfund Law was not intended to apply to animal agriculture. DFA members and staff asked members of Congress to co-sponsor House Bill 1398 and Senate Bill 807.
  • Water Bill – This legislation would result in the greatest expansion of the Clean Water Act (CWA) since the law took effect in 1972. The proposal moves the CWA beyond protecting wetlands and waterways and transforms it into a vehicle for regulating virtually every wet area in the nation, from ditches to gutters to possibly even groundwater. DFA opposes the changes to CWA that enforce the regulation of all wet areas.

Board members also heard from experts from throughout the country on these legislative issues. Guest speakers included Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee; Jerry Kozak, president and chief executive officer of National Milk Producers Federation; and Craig Regelbrugge, co-chair of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform.

“DFA understands the value of being involved in the legislative process and is committed to developing relationships with our elected officials,” says Camerlo. “With so many issues facing the dairy industry, it’s even more critical for our voices to be heard in Washington. Thanks to our members who have invested time and energy in this important activity. Together, we are making a difference on Capitol Hill.”

The 2007 Farm Bill, AgJOBS, CERCLA and the Clean Water Act continue to be priorities for DFA members and staff as they move forward in the legislative process this fall.