Dairy industry mixed over House’s farm bill passage

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House Republican leaders took a risk after bringing the farm bill back to the floor, but their risk in splitting apart funding for food stamps paid off.

According to the Washington Post, lawmakers voted 216 to 208 to make changes to the farm bill and end direct subsidy payments to farmers. Read more. However, reactions from the dairy industry have been mixed.  

“The farm bill passed today by the House of Representatives is seriously flawed, in that it contains the Goodlatte-Scott dairy amendment, as well as a repeal of permanent agricultural law,” Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, said in a statement. “Neither of these measures serves the best long-term interests of dairy farmers. The Senate, by contrast, overwhelmingly passed the complete Dairy Security Act, which the National Milk Producers Federation and nearly all dairy farmers enthusiastically supported.”

Jerry Slominski, senior vice president of legislative and economic affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association, praised the House’s decision.

“The House-passed version of the Farm Bill will allow our industry to continue to grow and create thousands more jobs. The Senate-passed version of the Farm Bill, however, continues to include the divisive milk supply management policy that is opposed by national consumer groups, supermarket chains, restaurants, taxpayers, the Teamsters union and many dairy producers, including the second-largest dairy cooperative,” he said in a news release.

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) also responded, pointing that passing a bill that does not contain the Dairy Security Act “falls short on many fronts.”

“It is truly disappointing that this omission was the only way to move this bill forward through a divided House of Representatives. Given that the Farm Bill affects not only the rural economy, but the nation’s economy as a whole, it is unfortunate that bi-partisan support has been so difficult to achieve,” said John Wilson, DFA senior vice president. “However, we remain hopeful that conference negotiations with the Senate bill, which does contain the DSA, will yield a dairy program we can embrace.”

On Wednesday, the White House threatened to veto the split farm bill because the bill “fails to reauthorize nutrition programs, which benefit millions of Americans - in rural, suburban and urban areas alike. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a cornerstone of our nation's food assistance safety net, and should not be left behind as the rest of the Farm Bill advances."

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Loren Lopes    
Turlock California  |  July, 12, 2013 at 08:24 AM

The dairy provision of this farm bill will continue to cause supply control by attrition. The current law can be adjusted to set a minimum price that covers an index or floor price based on the average cost of production. This price would also cap parity at the average cost of production price. Supply management can been applied in when needed as has been before. This would stop the attrition discouragement of young producers to the business, Today the price should be

Wisconsin  |  July, 12, 2013 at 08:33 AM

When are they going to get it through their heads that the "farm bill" should pertain only to farming? The "food security" or "Food social programs" are entirely a different beast that overall has nothing to do with farmers. Many years ago the two were linked because food handouts were related to government buying surplus milk etc and the food give ways were one method of getting using those purchases. One should not be held hostage for the other in this age when all food is purchased at the grocery store using government prepay plastic cards. ... but of course that is too logical for politicians who trade their votes for pork barrel ear marks that have nothing to do with either of these.

July, 12, 2013 at 09:24 AM

We here in Pennsylvania support the Goodlatte-Scott. Anyone with Vision in the dairy industry can see that milk protein needs paid for, not forgoforgotten about and lost as milk is treated as a generic commodity as the Senate's version has. Additionally, I have yet to run across a dairy farmer in Pennsylvania or Maryland that supports supply management through an insurance program. We the dairy farmers have been hijacked by these groups claiming to represent farmers, NMPF, we are Not enthused by your agenda. Maybe because the representatives are listening to the dairy farmer's phone calls and passed the Goodlatte-Scott Amendment.

md  |  July, 12, 2013 at 09:28 AM

Big money is taken out of your milk check each month to pay for these programs. We pay for food stamps and we pay for breakfast in school to poor children.

NY  |  July, 12, 2013 at 01:25 PM

I agree with Matt I think the reps. are listening to their dairy farmers. We hear NMPF say we are world wide markert place and then they want to limit our ability to be a reliable supplyer. This , to me, is where the rub is you can not have it both ways but what do I know I am just a farmer not and MBA.

WI  |  July, 12, 2013 at 10:17 PM

The best for our long term interests is the day you retire Mr. Kozak. You have never listened to dairy farmers. Fortunately the representatives have listened this time.

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