Senate approves farm bill containing dairy policy reform

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For the second time in a year, the Senate has approved a comprehensive farm bill containing the dairy policy reforms backed by the National Milk Producers Federation. The Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 by a vote of 66-27 Monday evening.

The measure contains the Dairy Security Act backed by NMPF and its farmer members, which creates a more effective safety net for dairy producers.

“On this strong bi-partisan vote, the Senate has again shown its determination to put politics aside, and work to implement new and better policies for America, including the country’s dairy farmers,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “NMPF appreciates the determination of the leaders of the Senate, and in particular, the leaders of the Agriculture Committee, Sens. Stabenow and Cochran, for shepherding this historic legislation through the Senate.”

The bill is similar to the farm bill approved last June 21 by the Senate, especially where dairy policy is concerned. The Dairy Security Act in the measure establishes a voluntary margin insurance program, allowing farmers to better manage the twin risks of milk price and feed cost volatility. The measure also features a market stabilization program to improve the cost-effectiveness of the program, helping farmers and taxpayers alike. The bill’s dairy title eliminates the MILC, price support, and dairy export incentive programs.

Demonstrating the strong momentum behind the Dairy Security Act there was no effort to significantly alter the dairy title during Senate consideration of the bill, Kozak said.

“We are very pleased at the progress made during this vital step in the Farm Bill process, but we also know that much work lies ahead,” he added. “We encourage the House of Representatives to also support its Agriculture Committee-passed bill, and reject any dairy processor-backed amendment to undermine the bill’s effectiveness by removing the market stabilization program. Prompt action in the House is necessary so that farmers won’t spend the last half of this year like they spent 2012:  expecting a harvest that never materializes.”

The House of Representatives is expected to begin floor consideration of its farm bill next week.

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MA  |  June, 10, 2013 at 10:33 PM

MILC should have been reformulated to reflect current costs, re-enacted, and paid for out of the pool...Insurance is to protect oneself from the unforeseen disasters, not for self inflicted economic losses brought upon an industry by those who produce more than their share...

VT  |  June, 11, 2013 at 08:26 AM

I agree Henry. Farmers are choosing crops to grow based on the amount of insurance available for that crop in some instances. This goes against the natural capital of the crops being grown and changes the economics of growing a certain crop. If there were no subsidies or crop insurance, farmers would make different choices in the crops they grow. This would help create crop diversity and naturally protect farmers from yield loss because of the diversity.

Pa.  |  June, 11, 2013 at 09:58 AM

Here we go again another "safety net". They all work for a short time and then we adjust. We live in the land of the free, with free enterprise, we must be free to fail. When our leadership in this industry that produces the best food in all God's creation gets serious about being a leader in dairy products that the world wants and at a competitive price we will soar till then we will sour.

Batavia, NY  |  June, 11, 2013 at 07:24 PM

Hopefully the Tea Party will kill this bill in the House.

MN  |  June, 11, 2013 at 08:12 PM

I hope the other comments are made by dairy farmers. I am a dairy farmer. NMPF does not have farmer members, but coop members. It seems most individual dairy farmers are against the garbage in the so-called farm bill, but the ag industry lobbies for the subsidies. Then coops can underpay, knowing the gov't will provide a subsistence level handout, and service providers can raise what they charge. In the meantime, dairy farm numbers continue to decline. I would say 70 years of the farm bill has been an abject failure, consolidating agriculture into fewer and fewer hands and making this country ever more reliant on imports. So Washington's answer as usual is throw more money at the problem they created.

Susie Nash    
Harford County Md  |  June, 12, 2013 at 07:56 AM

The NMPF could care less about the dairy farm. These self appointed people speak for us while they sell our milk as cheaply as possible to grocery store chains and collect payoffs. They will do or say anything to keep us broke and keep themselves in Forbes magazine. I have said this before, if the NMPF gets their way we should all sell out and enjoy what is left of our life. We are nothing but modern day slaves working for free.

new york  |  June, 12, 2013 at 11:33 AM

I am opposed to DSA, but my biggest fear is that this will get passed and farmers don't participate and next time it will not be voluntary. Maybe then it will be time to sell the cows. I brought up the declining number of members in our coop to the board president and his reply was we still have the same volume so not to worry.

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