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September 12, 2011

Dear Mr. Peterson

First of all, thank you for your time and effort working to improve national dairy policy. The attached document outlines four proposed amendments to the discussion draft you and Mr. Simpson are working to move forward.

The recommendations for amendment represent the unanimous support of the Board of Directors of the National Dairy Producers Organization Inc. In keeping with our commitment to help dairy producers achieve and maintain profitability, we recognize the need for policy reform which gives more consideration, than presently written, to producer needs; additionally, we recognize your need of gaining increased support from the rank and file producers throughout the country.

We feel the four proposed amendments to your discussion draft would vastly improve the opportunity for producers to realize profitability, growth and sustainability. In turn, you would gain much needed support for your bill proposal from the producer community and its infrastructure, including the unanimous support of our board.

While it is of great importance to recognize and maintain a viable dairy industry in this country, as producers we must first focus on the input cost of commodities which fuel production. Sustaining a dairy operation below that level of cost in order to participate in export markets, or any market for that matter, raises the issue of redistributing risk and responsibility over the entire industry; presently the burden of expense and associated liability is confined largely to the producer sector.

Political expectations of consensus in the dairy industry must recognize the inherent conflict of interest which exists between industry partners. The producerís potential for profit is targeted as an expense by IDFA and their members; an oversupply of milk allows the processor to control their input costs, control is profit. In its proper context, expectations of consensus on the issue of dairymen having any form of control over their production, when markets recede, sends a red flag to IDFA; this scenario represents a strangle hold over producers which confines us to survival of the fittest. 

The producer sector of the dairy industry is repeatedly in crisis, in order to maintain a viable dairy industry here in the United States that has to be corrected. We appreciate your leadership and stand willing to assist you in this important work. We ask for your consideration of the suggested amendments to your bill proposal.

  I offer my thanks on behalf of our board.

  Bill Rowell, Chairman

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CONTACT :  billrowell@billrowell.org