Vilsack eyeing dairy reform to avoid repeat of 2009

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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says change is coming for the dairy industry to prevent a collapse many dairies didn’t survive two years ago.

A proposal by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) provides a stronger support for dairy farmers if milk market prices dive. Vilsack said the proposal identifies the issues that need to be addressed, but still needs some fine-tuning.

Dairy farmers want to end milk price volatility, giving them a more consistent price to manage their operation.

Peterson’s proposal looks to replace outdated programs with reforms designed to balance milk supply and demand. Lawmakers want to end the need for federal subsidies by making the milk industry more profitable.

The proposal would cut two federal programs which help dairy farmers in lean times but are rarely used, strengthen an insurance-like program to supplement milk prices for farmers when the market dips too low, and would limit milk production when prices drop too low.

Although the proposal is in the draft stage, Vilsack says it could be completed in 2012, but changes must come from Congress.

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Source: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel



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