In a letter to the entire Senate yesterday, the National Milk Producers Federation asked for funding for the Milk Income Loss Contract program for the month of September — a 30-day extension with larger implications for the upcoming Farm Bill. The Senate is currently debating a measure that contains supplemental spending for the war in Iraq, along with the one-month MILC extension.

NMPF pointed out that unless the Senate appropriates approximately $30 million for the one-month extension, the MILC program will expire prior to the end of Fiscal Year 2007, which ends on Sept. 30. If the MILC programs Aug. 31 — as it is currently scheduled — there would not be a baseline of funding available in the next Farm Bill to renew the MILC, or a similar direct payment program that NMPF supports for the new Farm Bill.

“Unless this one month extension is included in the current supplemental, America’s dairy producers face the troubling prospect of being left without this very critical piece of our overall safety net, not just for one month, but in the next Farm Bill, as well,” says Jerry Kozak, president and chief executive officer of NMPF.

In the letter, NMPF points out that the extension of the MILC “is even more important now in a time when record high feed cost is putting a huge burden on dairy producers. High corn and other feed prices, along with the high cost of energy, are a serious impediment to the future of milk production in the United States. It is critical that we maintain the economic health of dairy producers across the nation.”

Source: National Milk Producers Federation