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Congressional Farm Leaders, Secretary Perdue Thanked for Work on Swift Dairy-Program Implementation

April 10, 2019

NMPF worked closely with key House and Senate dairy leaders in March to add bipartisan momentum to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s efforts to implement the new Dairy Margin Coverage program created in the 2018 Farm Bill, highlighted by letters to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging dairy implementation backed by members of both parties in both chambers.

Perdue has prioritized dairy programs in his farm-bill rollout, noting in testimony before Congress on April 9 that DMC outreach materials are being prepared for distribution via Farm Service Agency offices nationwide. NMPF appreciates the Secretary’s commitment to a timeline as well as congressional support for fast, farmer-friendly implementation of reforms. The bipartisan House and Senate letters urge USDA to implement the dairy provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill as quickly as possible and in a farmer-friendly manner.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and senior committee member Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) led the House effort, and Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) led in the Senate.  As noted in the letters, DMC and the other improvements will provide critical help to dairy farmers this year.

The letters, signed by 77 House members and 38 Senators from both parties, also urge USDA to engage actively with farmers on multiple levels, including mailings, phone calls and local meetings, as well as collaboration with stakeholders including state officials, cooperatives, producer groups and institutions of higher education.

NMPF participated heavily in generating support for the letters among members, and appreciates how bipartisan, bicameral efforts in Congress draw attention to the challenges dairy farmers are facing and applauds Secretary Perdue for putting forward a timeline for implementation.  While urging action to speed up implementation wherever possible, the organization continues to work with USDA and Congress to ensure the DMC program best serves hard-working, economically stressed dairy producers.