It is no secret that times have been tough for the American dairy farmer. The rate at which we are losing dairy farms is frightening. Dairy farms that have hung on are always looking for that glimmer of hope that things are turning around. We are beginning to see that turn around happening, but there is still quite a long way to go. Having strong advocates in Washington, D.C. is essential for their message to be heard.
Mike Torrey handles government affairs for Edge Dairy Cooperative. He talks about the political climate in D.C. and what needs to be done to get the story of dairy on the minds of people who are busy with other political distractions. He says it is like having one foot on the gas and another on the brake.
Trade has certainly been a hot topic across the agriculture sector. Dairy has by no means been immune to this. With the recent House passage of USMCA, we are that much closer to an agreement that helps the dairy sector.
Outside of trade, the definition of what constitutes as milk has been a hot-button issue for the industry. Torrey points out that there is more consumer confusion than one would like to see.
Torrey feels more optimistic as the Food and Drug Administration is hearing their concerns. Make no mistake, dairy producers don’t want to see growers of these plant-based alternatives not be able to market a product they work hard to produce. They just want the labels to be clearly defined as to just what is milk.
The dairy industry has a lot to feel good about as we head into 2020. There are people fighting for them in Washington, and making sure their story is told.