Thanks to recent comments from Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), two disparate and influential national media outlets ran editorials this week that denounced continuing efforts to include a farm bill provision that would limit milk supplies. The Wall Street Journal on Monday and the Washington Post today said that more government intervention under the proposed Dairy Market Stabilization Program would in effect create a federally sponsored cartel that is neither wise nor warranted.
The Journal specifically argued against the stabilization program, saying it would create a bureaucracy that would artificially inflate prices for milk and other dairy staples like cheese, ice cream and yogurt. “The Speaker indicated that a conference report including supply management won’t come for a vote,” the editorial board said. “Mr. Boehner’s intervention is a public service. If Congress can’t improve farm policy, the more principled Members at least can avoid making it worse.”
In its editorial, The Post spoke more generally about the Farm Bill and questioned the need for “government-guaranteed prosperity.” Referring to the stabilization program, the editors said, “This is the provision Mr. Boehner decried as Soviet economics – though it might be more accurate to call it a federally sponsored cartel. Like most cartels, to the extent that it doesn’t punish consumers, it is vulnerable to cheaters and free-riders.”
While the Farm Bill remains in negotiations, recent reports indicate that conference leaders may be close to a deal on the dairy title and other provisions. IDFA will continue to monitor and report on progress to members
Read “To Minnesota Station: The farm bill is stalled over Soviet-style price controls on milk,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/12/14
Read “U.S. dairy industry wants price protections in the farm bill,” Washington Post, 1/16/14