Dairy Groups Pleased with House Farm Bill Vote

The House of Representatives has passed its version of the farm bill and it contains several changes that will benefit dairy farmers. ( BJOERTVEDT / CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The farm bill has passed the House of Representatives and dairy groups are happy to see it move forward with legislation that can aid producers.

The bill passed by a thin margin with a vote of 213-211 that included 20 Republican voting against the legislation. Despite the partisan nature of the vote the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) both wanted to thank the House Agriculture Committee for their work on the farm bill.

“While there are a few issues that will need to be addressed when the House reconciles its version of the Farm Bill with the one the Senate is considering, we are pleased that the process continues to move forward with this vote,” says NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.

“U.S. dairy products companies support nearly 3 million jobs, generate more than $39 billion in direct wages and have an overall economic impact of more than $628 billion,” adds Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “Our powerful engine for American jobs and economic stimulus will only continue to contribute and grow under this farm bill.” 

Dairy legislation contained in the farm bill includes:

  • Improvements to the Margin Protection Program (MPP) by raising the maximum covered margin to $9/cwt which should provide more flexibility to producers.
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would provide retail incentives for the promotion of milk purchases.
  • Language in the bill also requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture to finalize its interim final rule allowing low-fat flavored milk to be served in school cafeterias. It was authored by Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-Pa.).
  • Nutrient management was addressed in the conservation title with an emphasis placed on nutrient recovery technologies. The language was authored by Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.).

The Senate is currently working on the farm bill after it easily passed committee by a vote of 20-1. The deadline for the bill to be passed into law is Sept. 30 when the current farm bill expires.