Subcommittee Holds Audit Hearing on Dairy Programs

Sep 8, 2011

Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Thomas Rooney, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry held an audit hearing to examine U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) dairy programs. This is the tenth hearing in the series on farm policy that is designed to provide oversight of current spending to ensure programs are delivered effectively. It also provides Members of the Committee with a comprehensive view of farm programs.

Current dairy programs include the Dairy Product Price Support Program (DPPSP), Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) Program, Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP), Livestock Gross Margin Insurance for Dairy (LGM-Dairy), and Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMOs). Members of the Subcommittee heard testimony about how these programs are working, current conditions and productivity in the dairy industry, and possible public policy challenges moving forward.

"The events of 2009 exposed what many have long-held to be an inadequacy of some of our current dairy programs.  While some observers may argue that additional funding may improve the overall effectiveness of our dairy safety net, our current budgetary outlook makes this option a non-starter.  Innovative and effective ideas are needed in order to ensure that our programs support our producers, facilitate product and market development, and continue to ensure the availability of safe, abundant, and affordable products for our consumers.  Today's hearing provided our Subcommittee with an important perspective about the strengths and weaknesses of our existing programs," said Chairman Thomas Rooney (R-FL).

"The dairy industry has always faced a rocky road, but the past few years have been particularly hard for California producers. It is extremely important that future dairy policy builds a strong base so dairies can continue to produce milk and consumers can continue to enjoy domestically produced products here at home," said Ranking Member Dennis Cardoza (D-CA).

Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below.

Witness List:

Panel I

Mr. Juan Garcia, Acting Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Dana Coale, Deputy Administrator for Dairy Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.