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National Restaurant Association - House drops dairy supply management from farm bill

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House drops dairy supply management from farm bill

The House of Representatives on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to adopt an NRA-supported amendment to the farm bill to provide security to dairy farmers without mandating participation in a federal dairy supply-management program.

The bipartisan amendment, authored by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and David Scott (D-Ga.), offered a safety net for dairy farmers while avoiding the supply-management program that had previously been part of the bill. The supply management program would have artificially inflated prices, leading to increased costs for businesses and consumers. The NRA and two dozen of its member companies sent a letter to representatives in support of the amendment earlier this week.

“We have learned from past experience that government management of commodity supply and demand does not work,” the NRA and its members wrote. “Restricting milk supplies will increase dairy product costs for both consumers and businesses and will hurt dairy industry growth, leading to negative long-term consequences for dairy farms, processors, retailers, restaurants, consumers and taxpayers.

Representatives adopted the Goodlatte-Scott amendment by a vote of 291-135. The five-year farm bill, known formally as the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, later failed to pass largely because of disagreements over cuts to federal nutrition assistance programs.

“While the bill failed, our work on the dairy amendment was successful in that the majority of Congress voted with us on dairy management policies,” said NRA executive vice president,, Policy and Government Affairs. “While our message was heard, the work continues until we get a clear direction on farm policy from Congress.”

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