Every five years, Congress reviews and considers amendments to omnibus legislation, known as the “farm bill,” that governs U.S. agricultural and nutrition policies overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, or 2018 Farm Bill, covered several priorities for dairy, including greater access to risk management tools for dairy foods companies and farmers to address price fluctuations.

Our Impact
The 2018 Farm Bill represented a historic collaboration between IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). With one voice, we supported changes and tools that would help dairy processors and producers better manage market instability and uncertainty. As a result, congressional leaders adopted the following recommendations:

Better risk management
We recommended a significant change to the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) formula for Class I fluid milk. IDFA believes the new formula will encourage industry innovation and promotion. Read more. (Link to FMMO issue.)

For makers of dairy products other than fluid milk, the bill extended the Dairy Forward Pricing Program to 2023. The program provides an important mechanism for stability by allowing these manufacturers to establish one contract with their milk suppliers for several months of future deliveries. https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/dfc

Improved margin protection
The bill improved the safety net for dairy farmers by establishing the Dairy Margin Coverage program. IDFA supported the program because it provides provide better risk management tools for farmers without distorting the market. https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/dairy-margin-coverage-program/index

Expanded access to milk
We proposed the creation of a milk incentive program, called the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects, for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants. The program was authorized in the bill, but funding must be provided by the annual appropriations bill before USDA can develop and launch it. Read more. (Link to SNAP sub-issue under Nutrition or Appropriations.)

For more information, contact Dave Carlin, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy, at dcarlin@idfa.org.