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I just don’t understand lack of support from dairy states

Why are there so many dairy states that are not supporting Congressman Thompson’s dairy bill HR 1861? For instance, the state of Michigan is continuing to grow in milk production. Yes, they want more milk plants built there, however there is not one member of Congress from Michigan on this bill!

This bill would allow schools the option of serving whole milk at lunch time, both flavored (usually chocolate) and unflavored (whole white milk).

New Mexico, where 150 dairy farmers (plus or minus a few) have by far the largest yearly average of production of milk of any other states. Again, no support of Thompson’s bill.

Oregon and Washington State are key dairy states in the Northwest, but again, no members of Congress from that area have signed onto the Thompson HR 1861 bill.

However, California is the granddaddy of all the states. They have either 53 or 54 members of Congress in the state, with only 4 members of Congress on the bill. The sad part is that the dairy farmers in California produce around 40 billion pounds of milk per year. This is the largest of all the states. Even worse, is the fact that California’s class I sales that are used for the state runs between sixteen and eighteen per cent.

The other day I called John Rossi, a good friend of mine in California. John said, “Many dairy farmers in California have very little awareness of Thompson’s dairy bill.” Immediately he would start talking to some key dairy farmers and try to obtain more support for Thompson’s bill. For instance, there now are three members of Congress from California who have signed onto HR 1861.

Senator Pat Toomey: Recently I was invited to a dinner meeting hosted by the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce. Senator Pat Toomey, R-Zionsville, was a guest speaker. I was able to get the first statement and questions to the Senator concerning his dairy bill. This bill was introduced in 2019. I also told the Senator about the dairy farmer crisis facing most dairy farmers. The Senator said his dairy bill has to be reintroduced, and regarding whole milk to be placed back in schools, he said, “Whole milk is far better for our kids than the other drinks being offered to them.”

At the present time, one of our members and myself are conversing with a major college in Pennsylvania regarding the fact that coaches and trainers are telling their athletes they should give up all other drinks, and utilize only whole chocolate milk.

We may have more information about progress on the issue within the week.

Arden Tewksbury is manager of Progressive Agriculture Organization based in Meshoppen.

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