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Farm Bill Agreement Contains Dairy Reform Proposal

December 2, 2011

Capitol_Hill_1.JPGEven though the congressional supercommittee process failed to reach an agreement on how to make $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees did agree last month to a 2012 Farm Bill framework that includes the NMPF-backed Dairy Security Act.

The top Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate panels had been negotiating throughout the autumn on the outlines of a new farm bill, in an effort to reduce overall agriculture spending by $23 billion. That effort paralleled the larger supercommittee process that targeted farm programs as part of its package of trillion-dollar cuts. Because the Dairy Security Act provides a budget savings compared to current policies – and because it offers farmers a better safety net – the Ag committee negotiators included the DSA as part of the overall package.

Specifically, both the Dairy Margin Protection Program and the Dairy Market Stabilization Program were featured in the Farm Bill draft, while the Dairy Product Price Support Program, the Milk Income Loss Contract Program and the Dairy Export Incentive Program were eliminated.

Although the demise of the supercommittee process has now pushed consideration of the next Farm Bill into 2012, NMPF is confident that the Dairy Security Act remains the foundation of dairy policy reform as the next Farm Bill is refined. NMPF will continue working with its members to urge House and Senate members to build on the agreement achieved last month, so that dairy policy reform can be finalized next year.