Last week the U.S. Senate passed a $100.7 billion ag appropriations bill for fiscal 2006.

Items of interest to the dairy industry include:

  • No funding for the Milk Income Loss Contract program. 
    The House ag spending bill did not earmark any money for the MILC program either. However, supporters of the MILC program say there is about a 75 percent chance the program will be renewed. Bill Bruins, president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and dairy producer, says that Congress is considering several options to cut the cost of the program including raising the trigger price for payments and reauthorizing the program for one year instead of two.

    In addition, Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., who will be involved in the joint House-Senate negotiations to construct a final spending bill, quickly reminds people that President Bush publicly announced his support of the MILC program last fall. 

  • $18.62 million for the national Johne’s disease education program.
    The House bill only contained $7.5 million for Johne’s programs. Negotiators will have to find common ground in the upcoming joint House-Senate conference session to reconcile differences in the two spending bills.
  • Authorization for USDA to use producer checkoff funds to pay for dairy air quality research as needed for the EPA consent agreement.  
    The House ag spending bill did not contain any provision to alter how dairy producer checkoff funds could be used. This will be new ground to be covered during the joint session.

NMPF, Green BayPress-Gazette