Washington, D.C. (March 31, 2004) - Texas Farmers Union President, Wes Sims and several dairy farmers recently joined producers from across the nation in Washington, D.C., in a call for limits on imported milk protein concentrate (MPC) and casein.
While in Washington they advocated closing trade loopholes that are allowing a flood of MPC and casein into the United States. Specifically, the group of farmers recruited co-sponsors for the Milk Import Tariff Equity Act, which would limit these imports by imposing effective tariffs. The legislation is sponsored by Sens. Larry Craig, R-Idaho and Mark Dayton, D-Min. in the Senate and Reps. Don Sherwood, R-Pa. and David Obey, D-Wis. in the House.
“American dairy farmers are facing the lowest prices for their products since the 1970's,” Sims said. “Imports increasingly replace nonfat dry milk in many products, which have required government purchases of nonfat dry milk to increase a recorded 1.28 billion pounds.”
While certain imported powdered milk products are subject to tariff-rate quotas, MPC and casein are not. A general Accounting Office study indicated that MPC imports surged by 600 percent since the last round of World Trade Organization talks in 1995.
The grassroots effort was organized by National Farmers Union and backed by other dairy producer groups. During the event the Sims and others visited selected congressional offices and interacted with members of Congress and the media during a “MPC-free” ice cream social.
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