OCM Testifies at Public Hearing on Federal Prohibition of Whole Milk in Schools

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June 17, 2021
Media Contact: Mike Eby
Organization for Competitive Markets
meby@competitivemarkets.com
717-799-0057

LINCOLN, NE: Yesterday, OCM’s executive director Mike Eby, testified at the Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing on the federal prohibition of whole milk in schools.
Eby claims, “Dairy farmers have lost a generation of milk drinkers since whole milk was removed from schools in 2010”.  He continues, “In my many interactions with other farmers and consumers, having done many outreach programs through my industry involvement, I see the divide that keeps farmers and consumers apart–on knowledge, markets, and choice.  The issue of allowing children to choose whole milk at school is one that seems to escape the application of logic, freedom, and fairness”.

Eby says, “In a milk pricing system that can be inequitable, “price discovery” in the valuation of components is important as the foundation of a producer’s milk check.  When milk fat is treated as a byproduct, it can be undervalued as a component”.

The DGA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and the mandatory Dairy Checkoff program that farmers must pay into also made the list of grievances aired. Eby noted, “The dairy checkoff promotions that farmers must pay into are affected by these dietary guidelines that the industry heartily applauds when they are released”.

The public hearing was 90 minutes in length. There were at least four state action items that were mentioned by the Senate Committee that developed as the panels progressed and questions led to discussion.

*1) Joint resolution with the Senate / House from PA to the Federal Government to change their views on this (and if they don’t get federal results with that, start looking at the cost and what would be involved for PA to go it alone legislatively)
*2) A trial in at least one school district out of every PA county (get data and awareness)
*3) Seek a direct answer from the PA Dept. of Ag on where they stand on this since the department did not send representation
4)Have a follow-up hearing or maybe a joint hearing (bipartisan standing committee)

PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA
Opening Remarks
Senator Mario M. Scavello, Chairman, Senate Majority Policy Committee

Panel One
Rick Ebert, President, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau
Rob Barley, Chairman, PA Milk Marketing Board
Mike Eby, Farmer and PA Farmers Union board member, President of National Dairy Producers Organization and Executive Director of Organization for Competitive Markets
Jayne Sebright, Executive Director, Center for Dairy Excellence

Panel Two
Bernie Morrissey, Chairman, Grassroots PA Dairy Advisory Committee
Nelson Troutman, Berks County Dairy Farmer, Started the “97 Milk” Movement
Jackie Behr, Volunteer Marketing Manager with “97 Milk” Whole Milk Educational Efforts, also works with dairy farmers in her job at R&J Dairy Consulting
Sherry Bunting, Ag Journalist, a former member of the ELANCO School Board, Originated the 30,000-plus petition seeking to legalize whole milk in schools

Panel Three
Krista Byler, Food Service Director/District Chef, Union City Area School District
Christine Ebersole RN, BSN, CSN, School Nurse, Martinsburg
Tricia Adams, Hoffman Farms, School-Involved Parent leads school tours at the farm

Link to recorded hearing https://policy.pasenategop.com/mp-061621/

 

Organization for Competitive Markets
P.O. Box 6486
Lincoln, NE 68506

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