After proposing a number of fixes to aid dairy farmers in the past year, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D – NY) is requesting President Donald Trump to only support a Farm Bill with funding that will pay back dairy farmers for the Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP).
In a letter sent to Trump on Nov. 19, Gillibrand shares that with the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee resuming there needs to be “meaningful action” for dairy farmers.
“Our dairy farmers have been suffering from abysmally low milk prices, unfair trade policies, and a failed insurance system for too long, which is why I fought to get $73 million in the Farm Bill for our dairy producers. The Farm Bill is our chance to finally fix some of these problems, and I urge President Trump to only support a final bill that includes my Dairy Premium Refund Act that would issue a refund to farmers who participated in the failed Dairy Margin Protection Program,” Gillibrand says.
The Dairy Premium Refund Act is already in the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill approved in July, so there is a chance that it remains in the final Farm Bill. However, Gillibrand implores Trump to disavow any version that doesn’t include the refund for dairy producers.
“President Trump should reject any Farm Bill that comes to his desk that doesn’t give our dairy farmers the support and protection they urgently need. I will always do everything I can to continue fighting for our dairy farmers, and I urge my colleagues and the President to do the same,” Gillibrand adds.
The $73 million in funding would be paid back to dairy farmers who participated in MPP, which Gillibrand calls a failure. The provision ensures dairy farmers automatically receive a refund check for any MPP insurance premium funds not used to pay claims to them during the previous year. As it stands, remaining funds are returned to the U.S. Department of Treasury rather than to the farmers who paid them.
Earlier this year, Gillibrand requested $300 million in relief aid funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help dairy farmers who are struggling with historically low milk prices. The New York Senator also proposed “Dairy Farm Sustainability Act” which establishes a price floor for milk.
For more on Gillibrand’s efforts to aid dairy farmers read the following stories: