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|Farm Bill passes Senate ag committee, dairy industry leaders testify|
|News - Latest|
|Thursday, 26 April 2012 15:41|
The Senate Agriculture Committee met April 26 to markup a draft of the 2012 farm bill. When it concluded, it passed a bill titled the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012.
The bill contains major elements of the Dairy Security Act, introduced last fall by Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), including a margin insurance program that replaces existing dairy programs, namely the MILC and Dairy Product Price Support programs.Farmers will have the option of signing up for the margin insurance program. If they choose to do so, they will be enrolled in the legislation's to-be-created Market Stabilization program and asked to manage their milk output.
House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas issued the following statement in regards to the Senate bill:
"I commend Chairwoman Stabenow, Ranking Member Roberts and the other members of the Senate Ag Committee for advancing their farm bill. This is an important first step in the development of the next farm bill. I look forward to concluding the House Agriculture Committee’s hearing process and working with Ranking Member Peterson and members of the Committee to write the House bill in the coming weeks.”
As part of the House committee’s hearing process, the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry held a hearing on reforming dairy programs in the 2012 Farm Bill. This is the third of eight hearings, which are gathering agricultural leaders in Washington to share their perspective on farm policy.
The committee heard witness testimonials from several dairy industry representatives. The witness panel consisted of:
The dairy industry leaders' respective stances on dairy policy reforms ranged from support to opposition.
To view the witnesses' complete testimonies, click here.
"However, we are somewhat persuaded by the argument that our producers would benefit from a margin program linked to participation to a supply management plan even if we do not sign up.
"To the extent that producers in other regions of the country do participate in supply management, the market as a whole should move faster to a market equilibrium price. That should moderate, but not eliminate price volatility. Both producers and processors would benefit from less volatility."
He added, "We do view the Dairy Security Act as a whole to be a reasonable compromise that is trying to bring a very diverse industry together. If the Dairy Security Act passes as currently outlined, it would be a significant improvement over the present dairy safety net programs."
Barcellos also offered a different approach to the safety net program. "The way the Dairy Security Act and its later versions are written, dairy farmers have two options on a safety net: no program or one that uses a national feed cost calculation.
"The proposal that has been developed by Western United Dairymen is offered as a third choice... a margin program with a feed cost calculation using an average of the costs from the 10 states with the highest milk production volume."
"The Dairy Security Act intends to limit the production of that milk in order to try and manipulate the price of milk. In doing so, the act will limit our ability to increase our sales opportunities all around the world.”
Click here to read earlier coverage of NMPF's stance on dairy reform.
"It saves money compared to existing programs, and will be affordable and convenient for farmers to use. Critically, it treats all farmers equally and doesn’t produce regional or size-based outcomes that are inherently discriminatory.” PD