Now is the time to take action regarding dairy policy. That’s what House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) told AgriTalk radio host Mike Adams yesterday as he explained that he is pushing for quick adoption of a new dairy package because he sees an environment similar to the dairy crash of 2009.

“All of the elements that led up to the 2009 collapse that were going on in 2008 are going on in 2011,” Peterson says. “I’m very worried about where we’re heading. If we have another collapse, we just don’t have a program in place that can deal with it. What we have now is not the right policy going forward and we need to change that.”

Peterson released his proposal last week following the independent Congressional Budget Office’s financial review.

The proposal consists of three main components: a margin protection program, a Dairy Market Stabilization Program and reforms to the Federal Milk Marketing Order system. These proposals would provide a safety net based on margin protection, rather than price; and replace both the Dairy Product Price Support Program and the Milk Income Loss Contract Program. Read more about Peterson’s proposal here.

Peterson’s proposal has met with varying levels of acceptance by industry groups. “We need to work though all of this, but I don’t think there’s an option. I don’t think we can live with the current program,” he says.

The Congressman also expressed frustration with the current contentious budget talks, as well as the future of several Free Trade Agreements that await completion.

“I’m as frustrated as the people,” he says. “The only thing they can agree on is cutting farm programs, even though we’re not even a blip on the radar in terms of the amount of spending. I’m okay with doing our share; the only thing we’ve been asking is that it be commiserate with what everybody else is doing. If everybody is cut 10 percent, we shouldn’t be cut 25 percent.”

Listen to Peterson’s AgriTalk interview here.