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Wisconsin’s largest dairy lobbying group today applauded the state Assembly for stating its support for increasing the consumption of milk, including flavored whole milk, among children.

In a bipartisan vote this week, members of the Assembly approved a joint resolution stating that it “strongly encourages all efforts to increase consumption of milk, up to and including whole flavored milk, among America’s youth.”

The lawmakers pointed to the proposed Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019, which was introduced in Congress in January. Other federal bills have also been proposed.

In the state resolution, lawmakers cited the nutritional value of milk, the decline in consumption and the financial challenges facing dairy farmers.

The following statement is from Tom Crave, president of the Dairy Business Association and a farmer and cheesemaker in south-central Wisconsin.

“Dairy farmers in Wisconsin produce nutritious, wholesome milk that’s second to none in the world, and we do it more efficiently than ever before. Unfortunately, the consumption of milk is in decline and the prices farmers are receiving for it remain low. Providing more varieties in our schools will be good for our businesses and, just as important, good for our children.

“It’s terrific to see our state representatives take a critical opportunity like this to support the health of our kids and the livelihoods of our farmers.

“We applaud our lawmakers on the both sides of the aisle, especially Reps. Tony Kurtz, Don Vruwink, Travis Tranel, Debra Kolste, Gary Tauchen and Dave Considine for their leadership on this issue.

“The Dairy Business Association is proud to have worked with lawmakers on this effort and we urge the state Senate to show its support as well.”

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 limited the flexibility of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to offer children more milk options within the National School Lunch Program. The act mandated that flavored milk be fat-free (skim).

In 2017, the USDA enacted a rule allowing schools to receive a waiver allowing low-fat (1 percent) flavored milk as an option.

The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act was introduced in January 2019 by U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., and Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson, D-Minn. The act would allow whole milk, including flavored varieties, as an option.

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