Special to the E-T

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Seven days a week, 365 days a year, John Traweek runs his dairy operation in Stephenville. Recently, he took a day away from the dairy to talk with congressional leaders about the current state of the industry and the importance of farmer-owned cooperatives to the dairy sector. Traweek, a member of Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA), met with Rep. John Carter and the staffs of senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn.

DFA’s grassroots structure provides a distinct opportunity for members like Traweek to connect directly with their local representatives on Capitol Hill and communicate how farmers at home are impacted by national policy proposals affecting the dairy industry. Traweek also discussed how the farmer-owned cooperative model — established in the early 1900s — continues to positively impact the nation’s agriculture community.

“Keeping legislators updated on issues important to our dairy farmer members is critical,” said Jackie Klippenstein, DFA vice president of industry and legislative affairs. “Our members are working diligently with Congressional leaders to find solutions to the challenges currently facing the dairy industry — from the extreme volatility in prices to environmental regulation to addressing farm labor needs.”

While on Capitol Hill, Traweek expressed appreciation to Congress and members of the Administration for assisting the dairy sector by passing a bill that includes $350 million for dairy producers, for reactivating the Dairy Export Incentive Program and for using more than $200 million for dairy product purchases for food and nutrition programs. Traweek also urged Congress to oppose climate change efforts which would increase energy and other input costs to the agricultural sector.