HARRISBURG, Penn. - Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota held a hearing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to review dairy policy challenges and opportunities.

The Committee heard testimony from the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, a professor of agriculture economics, and a panel of witnesses representing dairy farmers and processors in Pennsylvania.

"As regional and complex as the U.S. dairy industry is, I think we can all agree that the safety net for dairy farmers is not working, and we need to consider new ideas that could provide better security for our nation's dairy producers," Chairman Peterson said. "The Agriculture Committee has held several hearings on this issue over the past year, and I have asked representatives from all parts of the dairy industry to come together and consider new policy directions as we begin to look for options in the next Farm Bill."

"The dairy industry has faced an enormous challenge over the last 18 months. It has become clear to me from talking with dairy producers from my District that existing federal dairy policy does not adequately empower producers to manage the increasing volatility that threatens their survival," said Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Ranking Member Randy Neugebauer of Texas. "I do believe that the current situation we find ourselves in represents an opportunity to bring the industry together behind a new and simplified policy approach."

Written testimony provided by the witnesses is available on the Committee website: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/index.html.
A full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website at a later date.

Witness List:

Panel I

. The Honorable Russell Redding, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Harrisburg, PA . Jim Dunn, Ph.D., Professor of Agricultural Economics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Panel II

. Mr. John Frey, Executive Director, Center for Dairy Excellence, Harrisburg, PA . Mr. Rod Hissong, Dairy Producer, Mercer Vu Farms Inc., Mercersburg, PA . Ms. Lauren Mosemann, Dairy Producer, Misty Mountain Dairy LLC, Warfordsburg, PA . Mr. Ralph Moyer, Dairy Producer, Myerstown, PA . Mr. Kent Heffner, Dairy Producer, Pine Grove, PA . Mr. Daniel Brandt, Dairy Producer, Brandt View Farms, Annville, PA . Mr. Todd Rutter, President, Rutter's Dairy, York, PA