On Thursday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest released a draft outline of the 2002 Farm Bill, which establishes the broad contours of future federal farm programs. The plan includes an extension of the current price support program at a level of $9.90 per hundredweight.

According to a press release from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), this could mean that the price support program will be around for an additional 10 years.

Extending the price support program “is critical to offering America’s dairy farmers a tested and reliable safety net during turbulent economic times, and we are gratified that the Agriculture Committee intends to include the program in the next Farm Bill,” said Jerry Kozak, chief executive officer of NMPF.

The 1996 Farm Bill had authorized a phase-out of the dairy price support program by the end of 1999; however, Congress has extended the program each year since.