Wisconsin Cheese Comments On Farm Bill Progression

The House Committee on Agriculture last week approved its version of the Farm Bill. The committee voted to maintain current funding authorization for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives.

DBII launched in 2019. The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association says it has successfully supported dairy farmers and processors in growing their businesses. Earlier this month, over 220 dairy leaders from 31 states signed a letter asking Congress to increase DBII funding.

Congressman Derrick Van Orden, a member of the House Ag Committee, entered the dairy leaders’ letter into the official record. He introduced an amendment to provide $36 million in annual authorization for DBII. This amount matches the recently released Senate framework. Van Orden’s amendment was withdrawn, but Chairman Glenn Thompson committed to supporting DBII as the Farm Bill progresses.

WCMA Senior Director of Policy Rebekah Sweeney explains that inflation and the addition of a fourth innovation center on the West Coast require an increase in DBII support.

“While WCMA and many dairy business leaders seek the express inclusion of boosted funding in the House bill, we appreciate Congressman Van Orden’s championship of DBII,” she says. “(We) trust that Chairman Thompson will work to secure the $36 million in annual support necessary to a maintenance of program impact.”

Maintaining DBII was a top priority for Van Orden, the first Wisconsin representative on the House Agriculture Committee in over a decade.

“Dairy farmers work incredibly hard,” he says. “We are bringing their products back to our schools through the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act. I also cosponsored the Dairy Farm Resiliency Act to increase the cap on Tier I coverage for the Dairy Margin Coverage program to 6 million pounds to provide a more robust safety net for producers. And ensured we maintained the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives.”