At our annual meeting in January, our new federal lobbyist, Michael Torrey, provided our members with a look at the evolving political landscape as our new presidential administration and Congress define their priorities.
It’s become clear that navigating the political tight rope is going to be more complex than ever and having a policy team in place is vital to DBMMC achieving our vision: To be a national catalyst for a vibrant dairy community.
That’s where Michael comes in. He and his team are based in Washington, D.C., and have a wealth of knowledge and experience in dairy.
What we all heard at the annual meeting reinforced that the decision by the DBMMC board of directors to provide greater leadership in federal policy was a good one.
To achieve our vision requires more than just having an elite policy team, but also leadership from our board and membership who can help direct strong and sustainable policies. To accomplish this, John Pagel, the co-op president, has appointed a federal policy committee chaired by Jerry Meissner, Chili, Wis. Jerry is joined by Mitch Davis, Belle Plaine, Minn.; Gordon Speirs, Brillion, Wis.; Randy Schmidt, Lone Rock, Wis.; Kevin Collins, Greenleaf, Wis.; Justin Peterson, Bangor, Wis.; and Nathan Jensen, Rock Valley, Iowa.
This past week, the importance of DBMMC’s leadership on federal policy was reinforced with the loss of U.S. dairy products into Canada (please read the legislative update on page 2 for details). This action will have a damaging effect on our members who must scramble to find a new processor for their milk and the general downward pressure on milk prices.
Our field staff have been working with the affected members to help find homes for their milk. Also, we are working with our dairy partners to find a solution to this action by the Canadians and to make sure dairy is treated fairly in any other trade agreements.
We have our work cut out for us as we position our farms to meet the growing global demands for protein. Dairy is an obvious choice in filling this need and we will not stop short in meeting this global challenge.