Soybean producers are warring with dairy farmers over a subsidy proposal in the U.S. Senate. It would reimburse schools nationwide for offering soy milk as an alternative to cow’s milk. The legislation is expected to pass the Senate Ag Committee later this month. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says it sounds like a dangerous issue. Grassley says he’d “sure hate to get in the middle of refereeing between dairy farmers and soybean producers.” He says it reminds him of the 1953 debate in the Iowa House which also pitted dairy farmers against soybean producers in a struggle over whether margarine should be colored yellow. Prior to that, soybean-based margarine was white and contained a pellet of food coloring that had to be kneaded in to make it yellow like butter. Grassley says that measure, allowing the yellow-colored oleo, passed by one vote. In the new debate on soy milk, the U-S-D-A now only pays for soy milk in schools when kids have a note from a doctor saying it’s medically necessary. Grassley says he’s not ready yet to declare how he’d vote on the subsidy, though he admits the numbers alone may sway him. Iowa has about four-thousand dairy farmers and some 93-thousand soybean producers.
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