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2001 Policy Positions
of the Southern Legislative Conference

POLICY POSITION IN SUPPORT OF INTERSTATE DAIRY COMPACTS


BACKGROUND

The dairy industry is an essential agricultural activity of the South, and dairy farms and, associated suppliers, marketers, processors and retailers are an integral component of the region’s economy. The ability of dairy producers to provide a stable, local supply of pure, wholesome milk is a matter of great importance to the health and welfare of the region.

Dairy farms are under considerable strain today. Since 1975, the United States has lost two-thirds of its dairy farms. Because of the perishable nature of milk and the fact that milk production is capital intensive and generates a low profit margin based on equity, dairy farmers are uniquely vulnerable to fluctuations in market prices.

Recognizing the interstate character of the Southern dairy industry, the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia have adopted legislation to establish the Southern Dairy Compact for the purpose of taking such steps as are necessary to ensure the continued viability of dairy farming in the South, and to assure consumers of an adequate, local supply of pure and wholesome milk, but the Congress has not yet approved the Southern Interstate Dairy Compact.

The Northeastern Dairy Compact has operated since August 1997 for the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, providing more than $120 million to dairy farmers in those states. In the Northeast, the dairy compact has helped provide economic stability to local, rural communities by also benefitting feed stores, farm equipment supplier and maintenance workers, farm supply stores, local banks, tourism and the construction trades. The Compact also has helped local dairy farmers stay in the business of farming.

The Southern Interstate Dairy Compact must be authorized and the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact reauthorized by Congress by September 2001.

RECOMMENDATION

The Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments supports the full implementation of both the Southern and Northeast Interstate Dairy Compacts, and urges Congress to enact legislation authorizing them.

 

Adopted by the Southern Legislative Conference, July 17, 2001, Savannah, Georgia.

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