June 21, 2001

Dairy Farmers Take Their Legislative Priorities To Capital Hill

The dairy farmer directors of Dairy Education and Political Action Committee (DEPAC) from Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) joined other farmers in Washington, D.C. June 11-13 to participate in a legislative and regulatory planning and review session sponsored by the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC).

Neil Hoff, a dairy farmer from Windthorst, TX and chairman of the DFA DEPAC committee, said the timely and informative meeting that brought together approximately 100 leaders from farmer-owned cooperatives, is an important bridge between leaders in Congress and farmers.

"The members of the House and Senate Agriculture Commit-tees look to organizations like DFA's DEPAC for direction as they consider legislation that directly impacts the operations of our nation's farms. Dairy Farmers of America is here to support several issues that are vital to the financial well-being of U.S. dairy farmers," said Hoff.

While in Washington, DEPAC directors met with selected members of the Congress, individually, to discuss pending legislation and to provide members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees informa-tion on key dairy issues.

DEPAC members, who participated in the effort, represented DFA's seven marketing areas. They included: Rick Binder, Hays, KS; Alva Carter, Portales, NM; Merle Chaplin, Moundsville, WV; Danny Evans, Sulphur Springs, TX; Larry Frederick, Baring; Lewis Gardner, Galeton, PA; Kent Herman, Taylorsville, NC; Neil Hoff, Windhorst, TX; Steve Matthees, Goodhue, MN; Harvey Moranda, Orland, CA; Larry Purdom, Purdy; and Gordon Roberts, Beaver, UT.

"Members of DEPAC spoke with lawmakers about three key issues: extension of the milk price support program through 2002, closing the loophole on imports of Milk Protein Concentrate and expansion of regional dairy compacts," said Hoff.

According to Hoff, DEPAC is the official political action committee for the members and employees of Dairy Farmers of America, the nation's largest milk marketing cooperative, DEPAC's charter is to educate legislative officials about dairy issues and to support political candidates who understand U.S. dairy farm families.

NCFA, an association of 62 farmer-owned cooperatives representing a wide variety of the raw farm products produced in the U.S., has been a political voice for farmers for more than 60 years.

Among the national policy makers who addressed the NCFA Washington Conference were Christine Todd Whitman, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman Senate Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry Committee; Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) Chief Deputy Whip U.S. House of Representatives; Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Ranking Minority member, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture; and Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) United States Senate.

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