Fresh off Wednesday’s approval in the House, the 2014 Farm Bill could be brought up for action in the Senate as early as Friday, Jan. 31. Senate Ag Committee chair Debbie Sen. Stabenow (D-Mich.) has said she wants the Senate to finish work on the bill no later than early next week.
“It’s now up to the Senate to take the final step,” she said. “The Senate has twice passed the farm bill with overwhelming bipartisan support. I have no doubt we’ll do it again, and show that it is possible to do something to reduce the deficit and boost the economy when people work across the aisle.”
The House’s 251-166 vote included 162 Republicans and 89 Democrats for the bill; 63 Republicans and 103 Democrats opposed. Fourteen members of the House did not vote. A roll call vote is available here.
Prior to the vote, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a score for the bill, estimating direct spending for authorized programs would total $956 billion over 10 years, of which nearly 80% ($756 billion) would be for nutrition programs.
U.S. dairy producers won't likely feel the impact of the Farm Bill – at least on dairy policy – until later this fall. Under the bill, USDA must establish a Margin Protection Program for dairy producers no later than Sept. 1, 2014. The Dairy Title of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (pages 96-117) was outlined previously by Dairy Herd Management.
That would give dairy producers approximately seven months to determine whether they wish to participate. As the bill is currently written, all U.S. dairy operations will be eligible, provided they register (method to be determined by USDA) and pay an annual $100 fee to cover administrative costs.
If a participating dairy operation is operated by more than one producer, all will be treated as a single dairy operation. If a dairy producer operates two or more dairy operations, each must register separately to participate.
Dairy producers who to participate will need to establish a milk production history to determine how many pounds and percentages of annual milk production they wish to cover. Both the pounds of production and desired margin level will determine annual insurance premium costs on a per hundredweight basis.
Dairy operations may select margin insurance to protect between a $4.00/cwt. to $8.00/cwt. milk-feed price margin in 50¢ increments. They may also elect to cover a percentage of their milk production in 5% increments, beginning with 25% and not exceeding 90% of the production history.