Not everyone in the dairy industry is on board with the proposed legislation. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, a new study commissioned by the group “shows the impacts of proposed dairy policy legislation on federal nutrition programs has found millions of dollars in hidden costs. Behind typical estimates of the price of the National Milk Producers Federation's Foundation for the Future dairy policy proposal are large and unintended additional taxpayer costs, reductions in the effectiveness of federal nutrition programs, and reduced access to the programs for low-income women and children.”

For more, see Proposed dairy legislation full of hidden costs?

Had the program been in place in 2009, claims the association, “more than 178,000 qualifying participants would have lost access to the already strained Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, unless $92 million more in spending was appropriated. The proposals would also have affected USDA's donation programs for food banks and senior centers. An estimated 50 million fewer pounds of cheese would have been available to the commodity distribution programs had the policies been in place in 2009.”

See the study here.

Peterson was clearly irritated with the IDFA’s claims of hidden costs. “Give me a break! International Dairy Foods Association(has members) that are protected by the MILC (Milk Income Loss Contract) allowance. They’re guaranteed a profit by the government. Some of them don’t even have to market their product in the current system.

“And they’re complaining? We’re moving this to a more market-oriented system, which is what’s been asked for. … They suddenly come up with bogeymen and are not talking about what’s really going on. I don’t have a lot of sympathy with some of the nonsense they’ve come out with.”

While writing the proposed act, legislators have been working with the National Milk Producers Federation, “the broadest-based organization in the dairy industry,” said Peterson. “But you’re never going to get 100 percent consensus in dairy, no matter what.

“So, we’ve kind of been following (the National Milk Producers Federation’s) lead and responding to what they’ve done in the industry. We’re introducing a bill based on what they’ve come up with…

“But once this gets into the legislative process that doesn’t mean there won’t be changes. There will be changes. We’ll have to work through this so we can get 218 votes in the House and 60 votes in the Senate.”

The House “will move first. I don’t think the Senate is ready to start moving on dairy.”