Thompson chairs dairy stabilization study commission
During the 2018 Regular Legislative Session, the legislature approved Senate Bill 560 by State Senator Beth Mizell to create the Dairy Stabilization Study Commission. SB 560, now Act 611, is an effort to ensure adequate supplies of milk and dairy products, protect consumers against excessive prices, and bolster the industry for Louisiana’s dairy farmers.
The 18-member study commission is tasked with collecting data on the retail price of milk and milk products in Louisiana; analyzing how cost markups of milk products at the retail level affect the prices paid to processors, distributors and farmers; comparing other state programs that set minimum prices or otherwise regulate the price milk; and determining how supply and demand forces effect the price dairy farmers receive for raw milk.
According to a recent study by the International Dairy Food Association, the dairy industry in Louisiana delivers over 12,000 jobs and almost $400 million in wages; resulting in a $5 billion total economic impact of dairy produced and sold in Louisiana.
State Senator Francis Thompson, chairman of both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Dairy Stabilization Study Commission, said that he hopes the work of the commission will put a spotlight on the tragic decline of the industry, educate the public on how the dairy business works, and develop solutions on how to solve problems plaguing the state’s dairy farmers.
“Dairy is a vital part of not only Louisiana’s agriculture presence but of its economy as a whole. Fresh milk does not just magically appear in the grocery store,” said Senator Thompson. “There is much hard work and dedication that goes into bringing milk from the cow to your cup. Complicated economic factors and regulations play a huge role in the stabilization of the dairy industry and we are here to analyze it all so that our consumers are protected and our farmers are supported.”
The Dairy Stabilization Study Commission held its first meeting on Aug. 21, 2018 at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge and involved a historical assembly of stakeholders – consumers, government officials, distributors, producers, farmers and retailers.
The commission is set to meet at least twice more before submitting its report to the legislature in February 2019.