Filed Under: Big Government

Dairy Bureaucracy Milks Consumers

The federal farm bill will soon be up for consideration, so it’s no surprise to see activists and stakeholders jockeying to influence farm policy for the next few years. And one new campaign has caught our eye: The move to get Big Government out of milk.

The International Dairy Foods Association (a trade group) has launched a campaign attacking Depression-era government bureaucracy that controls milk prices. The original purpose was to promote orderly marketing conditions by, among other things, applying a uniform system of classified pricing throughout the farm milk market. This was in a time when we didn’t have modern transportation or refrigeration, and dairies were concentrated in a small number of states. But while the need for the federally controlled prices has disappeared, the bureaucracy never went away (as bureaucracies tend to do).

To call this system byzantine would be a bit of an understatement. The rules governing this dairy-pricing system cover 259 pages of federal regulations, the end result of which is oddly shaped “Federal Milk Marketing Order Areas” overseen by an administrator, as well as a hodgepodge price structure for every county in the US.

There’s a handy chart laying it all out in more readable terms than bureaucrat-ese, but the bottom line is that there are more than 300 people employed by the government making sure dairy products cost more than they should. That might fly with Denmark’s cheese-hating “food cops,” but it’s not helping families on a budget at a time when government needs to slim down.

Watch one of the campaign’s humorous videos below (and share it with your friends):

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