NMPF Statement on Status of Farm Bill and Dairy “Cliff” – December 2013

Release date: December 13,2013
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ATTRIBUTED TO NMPF'S JIM MULHERN:

Although the House of Representatives has passed a short-term extension of current farm programs in an effort to delay the onset of permanent agriculture law, it appears the Senate will not approve the measure. This means it is likely the current farm bill will expire Dec. 31, and farm programs will be regulated by permanent agriculture law as of January 1, 2014.

However, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack has recently indicated he will instruct his agency not to proceed with steps to implement the 1949 law that could cause milk prices to spike due to the much higher price support levels featured under permanent law. Vilsack has said that instead, he will allow time for Congress to complete its work on a five-year farm bill after January 1st.

NMPF remains concerned that permanent agriculture law, if it were fully implemented over the long term, would be bad for demand. This is why we are working with Congress to create an entirely new risk management insurance program. We want to move the industry forward, not have it be regulated by a 65 year-old program. The solution to avoid the dairy cliff, as well as yet another unwanted long-term extension of the status quo, is in hand; we just need the leadership in Congress to get it done.

Whether or not a short-term extension is approved, we need Congress to make passing a new farm bill a priority as soon as possible in January…not just to prevent a dairy cliff, but because we need the assurances of a new and better safety net for dairy farmers.

 

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies.