Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Rep. Mike Conaway, (R-Texas), spoke Dec. 13 at the American Dairy Coalition 2017 annual business meeting.
The meeting was attended by producers and allied businesses of the dairy industry from across the country. Rep. Conway briefed attendees on progress the Agriculture Committee has made on the upcoming Farm Bill and urged ADC to rally the dairy industry into a united front for the 2018 Farm Bill. He said everything is on track for the Farm Bill to be brought to the House Floor early next year and the final Farm Bill to be completed by next fall.
Conaway addressed the rising concerns over a lack of a reliable safety net tool for the dairy industry. He discussed new policy that is moving forward that will improve current tools dairy producers are using for risk management because of the continued loss of profitability due to depressed milk prices. ADC will release more details as they become available.
Conaway also addressed concerns over exports. The chairman visited Canada and reassured ADC members that, in spite of the strength of Canadian dairy lobbyists, he feels there is still room to complete NAFTA.
In regard to immigration reform, Conaway supports Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and his work on the AG Act to create a new H2-C visa category for guestworkers for the dairy and agriculture industry. Conaway understands the need for reliable labor in the dairy industry and urges dairy producers to share their struggles with their elected officials. Immigration reform is a heavy lift and currently not the top priority of Congress, making it crucial the dairy industry continues to reach out to its Washington, D.C. legislators over and over again. A constant voice urging Congress to take up the difficult and controversial task of immigration reform is the only way to increase pressure on D.C. legislators to move something forward as quick as possible.
The American Dairy Coalition represents more than 30,000 dairy producers across the country.