June is National Dairy Month, and in South Dakota we have a lot to celebrate.
Over the last three years, milk production has grown 35% in South Dakota. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, total cheese production in South Dakota increased 16% in a year when many states were not as fortunate.
During my first term in Congress, I advocated for and rallied support from many of my colleagues across the aisle to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement which provided necessary improvements to increase dairy market access for South Dakota producers. Canada needs to live up to their end of the USMCA bargain, and that’s why I urged the administration to ensure Canada is allowing producers to meet the tariff quotas set in place under USMCA – I’m glad they are taking action.
Despite these successes, dairy farmers in South Dakota are still facing hardships because of the pandemic, and they need our support now more than ever.
That is why I cosponsored the DAIRY PRIDE Act, a bill that would require manufacturers of plant-based foods and beverages to stop mislabeling their products as dairy products. Many non-dairy items have the words “milk,” “yogurt,” and “cheese” on their labels, when in reality they do not meet the FDA’s definition of dairy and do not possess the specific nutritional values found in real dairy products.
The DAIRY PRIDE Act benefits both dairy producers and confused consumers across the United States by simply requiring the FDA to follow their own rules. After a year of braving extreme demand disruptions and plummeting market prices, this is the boost our dairy producers deserve.
Dairy products provide important health benefits to millions of Americans, and I am proud of our South Dakota dairy farmers who work hard every day to feed our nation and fill our cereal bowls.
The pandemic has proven just how resilient our dairy producers are, and National Dairy Month is the perfect time to recognize their efforts. Make sure to thank and support your local dairy farmers in June!