The Senate’s version of the 2007 Farm Bill “contains many of the priority items sought by the National Milk Producers Federation,” says Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of NMPF.
The dairy portions of the bill generated little controversy, compared to other, more contentious issues, such as farm payment limitations. The Senate measure mirrors the House bill’s language substantially revising the dairy price support program — an item developed and backed by NMPF.
The Senate bill also expands direct payments to dairy producers through the Milk Income Loss Contract program. MILC payments would rise to the original 2002 payment rate of 45 percent, and the volume of milk eligible for payments would rise from 2.4 million to 4.15 million pounds after fiscal year 2008.
The Senate bill does not contain language applying the dairy checkoff program to imported products, something that NMPF will be urging House and Senate conferees to adopt when they meet next year.
In addition to the dairy items, the Senate Farm Bill also has favorable treatment of renewable energy systems, increased funding for the EQIP program, and more funding for energy programs focused on animal manure management systems.
“Overall, we are positioned very favorably at this point, and we expect that the new Farm Bill will mostly mirror the outline that NMPF first drafted nearly a year ago,” says Kozak. “We appreciate the hard work that members of the Senate put into this package, and we will be working very closely with them, and their House counterparts, as both chambers forge a compromise version in the weeks ahead.”