Houghtaling Bill Establishing Value-Added Dairy Farming Program Clears Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling requiring the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to establish a “Value-Added Dairy Farming Program” cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday.

“We should support our dairy farmers so that they can not only survive, but thrive,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “This program will help us do just that.”

Under the bill (A-3810), the EDA must establish, maintain and administer a “Value-Added Dairy Farming Revolving Loan Fund,” as part of the program.

“This is a program that will assist the growing needs of our dairy farmers,” said Houghtaling. “We must make our dairy products a commodity again.”

Low-interest loans would be made available to qualified dairy farmers participating in the program to finance the expansion of value-added dairy production in New Jersey.

These loans will be awarded based on the criteria established in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and all repayments of loans and interest are required to be deposited in the revolving loan fund.

According to the bill, a “qualified dairy farmer” is considered to be a person or business entity that produces value-added dairy products and is independently owned and operated primarily in New Jersey.

“Value-added dairy products” are to include, at least, cheese, cultured sour cream, yogurt, kefir, butter, ice cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk and concentrated milk.