NMPF Urges Congress to Pass Dairy Security Bill

US - The National Milk Producers Federation’s (NMPF) Board of Directors supported a resolution this week urging Congress to pass a Farm Bill in 2012, one that contains an improved safety net for farmers in the form of the Dairy Security Act.
calendar icon 15 March 2012
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The resolution, passed unanimously Tuesday by the NMPF Board at its spring meeting, made it clear that the organisation does not support any approach in Congress that would extend current farm programmes by another year, and delay the creation of a better dairy programme.

“Kicking the can down the road into 2013, where the farm bill is concerned, is neither good politics, nor good policy,” said Randy Mooney, Chairman of NMPF and a dairy farmer from Rogersville, Missouri.

“The tough choices about budget priorities won’t be any easier next year. But more to the point, dairy farmers need a better programme than what we have right now. A farm bill extension in 2012 doesn’t do us any good.”

Mr Mooney said he was encouraged that leaders in both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees have recently expressed hope that each chamber can complete work on a bill prior to the summer.

NMPF has worked since 2009 to formulate a comprehensive economic safety net that is based on margins, rather than just the farm level price of milk. After developing its own proposal, Foundation for the Future, NMPF worked with Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Mike Simpson (R-ID) to encapsulate those concepts into H.R. 3062, the Dairy Security Act.

“At some point, we have to hold Congress accountable for providing a stable safety net going forward,” Mr Mooney said. “We’ve seen prices drop significantly in the first quarter of 2012, and margins are again compressed, even as farmers are struggling to recover from the severe losses in 2009.”

Recognising that lower milk prices and higher feed costs are likely to result in significantly reduced operating margins for dairy producers in 2012 and that the current policy is ineffective in protecting the livelihood of producers, as seen in 2009, the NMPF Board of Directors urged Congress to pass a new Farm Bill, including provisions of the Dairy Security Act.

Last week, the International Dairy Food Association said that the proposed Dairy Security Act would push small producers out of business faster.

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