Senate Approves Farm Bill Containing Dairy Policy Reform
Dairy Security Act Key Feature of New Measure
For the second time in a year, the Senate has approved a comprehensive farm bill containing the dairy policy reforms backed by the National Milk Producers Federation. The Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 by a vote of 66-27 Monday evening.
The measure contains the Dairy Security Act backed by NMPF and its farmer members, which creates a more effective safety net for dairy producers.
"On this strong bi-partisan vote, the Senate has again shown its determination to put politics aside, and work to implement new and better policies for America, including the country's dairy farmers," said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. "NMPF appreciates the determination of the leaders of the Senate, and in particular, the leaders of the Agriculture Committee, Sens. Stabenow and Cochran, for shepherding this historic legislation through the Senate."
The bill is similar to the farm bill approved last June 21st by the Senate, especially where dairy policy is concerned. The Dairy Security Act in the measure establishes a voluntary margin insurance program, allowing farmers to better manage the twin risks of milk price and feed cost volatility. The measure also features a market stabilization program to improve the cost-effectiveness of the program, helping farmers and taxpayers alike. The bill's dairy title eliminates the MILC, price support, and dairy export incentive programs.
Demonstrating the strong momentum behind the Dairy Security Act there was no effort to significantly alter the dairy title during Senate consideration of the bill, Kozak said.
"We are very pleased at the progress made during this vital step in the Farm Bill process, but we also know that much work lies ahead," he added. "We encourage the House of Representatives to also support its Agriculture Committee-passed bill and reject any dairy processor-backed amendment to undermine the bill's effectiveness by removing the market stabilization program. Prompt action in the House is necessary so that farmers won't spend the last half of this year like they spent 2012: expecting a harvest that never materializes."
The House of Representatives is expected to begin floor consideration of its farm bill next week.