Vermont’s Congressional delegation – Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bernard Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) – jointly introduced legislation last Friday that would extend the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program for one year. By introducing the bills, S. 2126 and H.R. 4085, Vermont’s delegation seeks to extend the program preemptively, while Congress grapples with drafting and passing a Farm Bill. Without action, the MILC program will expire October 1, 2012.
The MILC program is a direct subsidy program that provides a safety net for dairy farmers when the price of milk drops below $16.94 per hundredweight. The program’s trigger disburses 45 percent of the difference between the target price and the current price of fluid milk, which also includes feed costs as a factor in triggering program payments.
"Although we would like to see support programs move toward risk management tools for dairy farmers, the current MILC program is certainly preferable to production controls and the 'stabilization' program that is being promoted by the National Milk Producers Federation,” said Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs. “The stabilization program would not only collect millions of dollars of revenues from dairy farmers but would add a new regulatory burden on processors.”
Passage of a Farm Bill remains uncertain as the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Nutrition initiates hearings covering different aspects of USDA’s oversight. If a new Farm Bill fails to attract momentum, Congress may resolve the issue by extending the current Farm Bill, including the MILC program, for several months or a year.
For more information, contact Saunders, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 220-3553.