We Met with Congressman Joe Courtney

On a beautiful and unseasonably warm January Saturday, our young dairy producer group met with Congressman Joe Courtney at the Kellogg Dairy Center, UConn, in Storrs. The room seemed quite full as we invited UConn dairy students to join us for this event. The congressman spoke about the Congressional Dairy Coalition, what is happening on the policy front, and other various dairy-related topics.

Young Dairy Producers with U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney at the Kellogg Dairy Center, University of Connecticut, Storrs

Courtney, a second term Democrat serving the second district of Connecticut,  fielded good questions from the audience, and left us with good information and take-home messages. A few key areas:

  • Milk is an important part of nutrition legislation. We need to make sure we keep it this way.
  • We need to find consensus among our industry- within our own state, from state to state, AND among production methods.
  • Opening up the Farm Bill is probably not a direction to go, but with the next one coming in 2012, it’s not too early to start building that consensus.
  • Washington needs to hear from us. WE are the dairy experts; they rely on us for straight facts about OUR industry, OUR production methods, OUR product.

Courtney’s Dairy Coalition may be meeting with Ambassador Ron Kirk,  United States Trade Representative in the next few weeks to talk about a trade agreement that would include New Zealand. I wonder if you’d take a few minutes to answer the follow questions in a reply to this post: What sorts of questions would you have for Ambassador Kirk with respect to dairy imports and exports? Where do you see New Zealand in the global dairy market and how should/could the U.S. dairy industry work with NZ? Or should they not? I have my own opinions that I will share. I’d like to first hear from you.

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2 Responses to “We Met with Congressman Joe Courtney”

  1. Amanda Freund Says:

    In 2008 the US imported over $700 million in dairy products from NZ while we exported approximately 1% of that figure to NZ. One of the few products that we still produce from raw to finished state, domestically, is milk. With so many factors that aggravate price volatility in this industry, we need to instead focus on meeting domestic demand with our plentiful and HEALTHY and FRESH supply of dairy.

    What are the anticipated repercussions if the US rejects dairy imports in this trade agreement? Any indication on NZ’s reaction/response?

  2. Zach Olson Says:

    What is it that the kiwis are making that we arent making here? There must be a reason we are importing this stuff when our own milk is worth less then ever before. I have heard rumblings of MPC’s (milk protien concentrates) in the past; is that it? 700 million kept in the US would have greatly helped Americas dairymen.

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