The unusual course that Congress is taking to find major deficit reductions has led agriculture committee leaders to attempt to write the next farm bill within this truncated process. This action is denying most stakeholders the opportunity to participate in the normal process of hearings and analysis that usually occurs prior to enacting sweeping new legislation. Controversial dairy provisions, largely taken from Rep. Collin Peterson’s (D-MN) bill, H.R.3062, are being discussed as part of that package.
Upon learning that House and Senate Agriculture chairmen and ranking members had agreed to include dairy provisions that would link supply control to revenue insurance for dairy farmers in their recommendations to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the supercommittee), IDFA sent a letter outlining concerns to these principals and continues to lobby the issue.
Now it’s time for IDFA members to pull out the stops and voice concern and opposition to Capitol Hill offices directly.
- This is a highly controversial proposal and there is no consensus in the dairy industry that it should become law. It would benefit from an open process that allows for all voices to be heard.
- The so-called stabilization program is designed to have the government directly interfere in dairy markets. And, while Rep. Peterson suggests the supply controls would kick in only infrequently, new analysis suggests it would be more like 40 percent to 45 percent of the time as feed costs and milk prices are likely to be more volatile in the future.
- Recent changes to make the program “voluntary” do not apply to processors and do not address the concerns of processors. Programs like “stabilization” cannot be fixed. There are other ways to assist dairy farmers without hamstringing the dairy industry.
Read IDFA's letter to Agriculture Committee leadership.