NMPF Members Meet with Lawmakers During June Capitol Hill Fly-in

More than 60 dairy farmers from across the country descended upon Washington, D.C., in mid-June as part of NMPF’s annual young farmer fly-in, where in more than 200 meetings they asked their elected officials for support on key issues of importance to the dairy farmer community, including trade, food labeling, labor availability and the farm bill.

Farmers from 21 states visited their House and Senate members on June 13 as part of their participation in the 2017 NMPF Young Cooperator (YC) program. During these meetings, dairy producers discussed the challenges they currently face, and highlighted four priority policy issues they hope Congress will act on in the near future: the need to make significant improvements to the dairy Margin Protection Program; passage of the DAIRY PRIDE Act, which would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to enforce existing food standards for milk; a pro-active approach to trade policy, especially as the 24-year-old NAFTA agreement is renegotiated; and immigration reform that will protect the current agricultural workforce and provide the availability of farm labor in the future.

“We are excited to share the first-person perspective of America’s dairy sector at a time when elected officials in Washington really need to hear our voices about the topics that matter most to farmers,” said Melissa Griffin, a dairy farmer from Buckland, Mass., and chairwoman of the 2017 YC Advisory Council.

After an initial planning meeting on June 12, the YCs attended an educational seminar on how to properly speak with Congress members and their staff. The day after the Hill visits, they participated in NMPF’s board meeting, where they learned about the many other endeavors National Milk is currently undertaking on their behalf.