Dr. Novakovic addresses NEAFA members

Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance

“Dairy policy isn’t just pricing and prices.”

Dr. Andrew Novakovic, the E.V. Baker Professor of Agricultural Economics at Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, addressed the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance (NEAFA) members March 5th at their 2019 Annual Meeting and Forum at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida, with a message about the policy issues and decisions facing the US dairy industry. The US dairy industry continues to be faced with numerous significant issues, ranging from dairy policy and immigration reform, to animal welfare and world trade.  “The choice of more or less government involvement will be a foundational element for how we resolve these various issues”, said Novakovic.  “Industry self-regulation vs third party oversight or government intervention are choices we face on a number of fronts.”



Novakovic also spoke about how often discussions fail to address the root problem of a subject. “Public policy discourse tends to be dominated by debate about solutions”, said Novakovic. “Less often do we debate and discuss the actual problem; what it is and how bad it is. Almost never do we talk about our values or how we might bridge the gaps between our values. Often a disagreement about the best solution is really a disagreement about what is the basic problem or what a desired outcome is.”

For the dairy industry, Novakovic adds that the scope of dairy policy needs to be increased. “Dairy policy isn’t just pricing and prices. It’s also about income support, trade, the environment, worker justice, animal welfare and food nutrition and health. All of these issues impact the dairy industry and must be adequately addressed if US dairy farmers are to remain economically viable and globally competitive.”

The US dairy industry must also take a global look as it moves forward. “Trade policy is one of the most important policy discussions in the world today,” emphasized Novakovic. Around the world people and governments seem to be questioning the merits of open economies, with viewpoints returning to notions of mercantilism and protectionism, as opposed to comparative advantage and globalism.”

Novakovic was however optimistic for the future of the industry going forward. “US dairy has a great story to tell and farmers are the best spokespeople to tell it. Provided we address these issues, we will remain a global supplier of milk and dairy products for the 2020’s and many years beyond.”


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