The re-established Dairy Farmer caucus in the 114th Congress is likely to be bigger than it was last Congress, the National Milk Producers Federation said Thursday.
The caucus, which will feature at least eight House members, put out a call for additional members this week.
"The 85-member caucus in 2013-14 was nearly one-fifth of the House," NMPF Vice President for Government Relations John Hollay explained. "We expect the 2015 caucus will be at least that large."
Hollay said the dairy group is "one of the most bipartisan and regionally diverse" of the many caucuses in Congress.
The Dairy Farmer caucus educates House members on dairy industry issues and helps build consensus on legislation impacting milk producers and processors.
For example, Hollay said, the caucus played a key role in enacting the 2014 Farm Bill, which included a significant rewrite to dairy policy.
The congressional Dairy Farmer caucus was initially started in 2006 to provide a bipartisan forum to collaborate on policy issues that addressed the interests of dairy producers nationwide.
In recent years, the caucus has worked closely with NMPF and the dairy industry to secure funding for farmers experiencing low prices and disasters, protect dairy trade interests and secure passage of federal nutrition programs that include dairy products.
The eight House members who will serve as co-chairs of the congressional Dairy Farmer caucus in the 114th Congress are: Reid Ribble, R-Wis., Peter Welch, D-VT, Michael Simpson, R-Idaho, Joe Courtney, D-Conn., David Valadao, R-Calif., Timothy Walz, D-Minn., Tom Reed, R-N.Y. and Suzan DelBene, D-Wash.