Dairy Title: Summary and commentary

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NMPF posts Dairy Title summary

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has produced a summary of federal Farm Bill dairy title provisions. The document (posted on the NMPF website) summarizes the key provisions of the dairy title in the farm bill. The new farm bill dairy program, expected to be approved by early February in Congress, represents a major change from previous programs, including an entirely new margin insurance program. Once the final bill is passed, USDA will spend the coming months developing regulations that will implement the measure.

 

Tewksbury: Will the new Farm Bill be a black eye for dairy farmers?

Statement by Arden Tewksbury, Progressive Agriculture Organization

As most people know the Senate and House conferees have reported out their version of the new proposed Farm Bill.  Much to the dismay of many dairy farmers, the conferees failed to include the provision that was geared to direct the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to conduct milk hearings to consider establishing a new milk pricing formula which hopefully would have established a fair, stable price to all dairy farmers. 

Then again, should we really be surprised that a few members of Congress are willing to saddle all dairy farmers with a complicated, unreliable margin insurance program?  After a previous Farm Bill was passed that mandated order reform, I wrote an editorial titled, “The New Farm Bill; A Processor’s Dream” which turned out to be a dairy farmer’s nightmare.  However, the dairy provisions in this new proposed Farm Bill probably should be called the P.P.P. Farm Bill, which stands for the Processor’s Pricing Program, or the Processor’s Protection Program, or you could call it the Processor’s Profit Program!

There isn’t anything wrong with having successful manufacturing milk processing plants or successful bottling plants, but everyone should be aware of the fact that dairy farmers need and deserve a milk pricing formula that would give every dairy farmer a fighting chance to stay in business. Anything less than a new pricing formula should not be tolerated by dairy farmers. 

But, you know what? We will never see a new pricing formula until enough dairy farmers stand up and have a willingness to take a strong position on what they deserve.  There just isn’t enough dairy farmers standing up and telling it like it is. 

So, consequently it appears one more time that a new Farm Bill will be passed that falls way short of correcting the plight of many dairy farmers while at the same time some national milk companies pride themselves on reporting huge profits.  Not only is there not a new pricing formula, the conferees have eliminated the milk price support program and will phase out the MILC program by this fall. 

So now you have your margin insurance program. The dairy farmers have no one to blame but themselves. 

 

DFA: Farm Bill moves forward with compromise on dairy policy

Statement by John Wilson, Senior Vice President, Dairy Farmers of America

“We would like to thank our dairy farmer owners, supporters in Congress, the National Milk Producers Federation and other industry leaders for tirelessly working to advocate for change in dairy policy.

"We are disappointed with the announcement that the new Farm Bill will not include the Dairy Security Act (DSA). The DSA was created by farmers for farmers and would have benefited dairy farmers and tax payers alike. With that said, we are encouraged the new bill replaces outdated dairy policy and includes a margin insurance program, similar to that in the DSA. This new program will serve as an important risk management tool in helping the nation’s dairy farm families maintain financial stability.

“While we have not had the opportunity to review the potential impact of the newly negotiated program, we are grateful congressional leaders continued to work toward an agreement on new dairy policy.

“We urge the conferees to complete their work and send the Farm Bill to the House and Senate floors for final passage.

“As a cooperative, we will continue to work toward improvements in dairy policy, regulations and opening new markets to benefit our dairy farmer owners."



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