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House Agriculture Appropriations Bill Advances NMPF Priorities, Including FDA Labeling Language

June 11, 2019

The House Appropriations Committee’s Fiscal Year 2020 Agriculture-FDA Appropriations measure that passed out of committee in May included multiple items of importance to NMPF.

The bill’s accompanying report included bipartisan language urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to continue with its review of dairy standards of identity so that dairy standards are ultimately enforced.  The language gives voice to ongoing concerns that plant-based imitators continue to misuse dairy’s good name on products that are not nutritionally equivalent to milk, cheese, yogurt, butter and other healthy dairy products.

Following related language in the Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations measure urging FDA to act on this critical issue, the agency indeed began a regulatory process to receive public comments and determine how standards would be enforced.  NMPF applauds the House Appropriations Committee for making clear congressional intent that it’s time for FDA to follow the law and enforce dairy standards of identity.

The measure also provides $10 million in discretionary funding for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, an NMPF-backed program authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill to provide grants to extension services and nonprofit organizations to assist producers who are facing greater stress due to the continued downturn in the farm economy.

Finally, the bill makes no cuts to critical conservation programs, which help dairy producers to access technical and financial assistance to carry out multiple conservation practices on their land and water.

The House and Senate are working to reach an overall budget agreement to allow the 2020 Appropriations process to reach a bipartisan conclusion.  NMPF will work with Congress to preserve these important provisions in any final measure.