Farm Bill to be Debated This Week in House and Senate
May 14, 2013
The Agriculture Committees in both the Senate and House will be working this week on the Farm Bill, with the fate of a new safety net for dairy farmers hanging in the balance.
On Tuesday, May 14th, the Senate Agriculture Committee will mark up its version of the Farm Bill. The Dairy Security Act (DSA), the reform packaged supported by dairy farmers, will be included as part of committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow’s overall Farm Bill draft. NMPF issued a statement last Thursday thanking the committee leadership for its support of the DSA.
The next day, on May 15th, the House Agriculture Committee will work on its own version of the Farm Bill. The House committee released its version of the farm bill Friday afternoon, and that bill also contains the Dairy Security Act as its dairy program provisions. While committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas and ranking member Rep. Collin Peterson both support the DSA, the committee is expected to debate an alternative approach, the so-called Dairy Freedom Act, which would effectively gut the DSA.
NMPF has been working hard on a bipartisan basis to build support for the DSA, and expose the flaws of the Dairy Freedom Act, which will be offered by Reps. Bob Goodlatte and David Scott. NMPF circulated a letter signed by its members, along with nearly two dozen other national and state associations, demonstrating the depth and breadth of support for the DSA among the dairy farmer community. The letter reiterates the reasons why members of the House and Senate should support the Dairy Security Act, including the fact that the DSA has the support of farmers; it is the fiscally-responsible approach to providing a dairy farmer safety net; farmers have already compromised with processors by eliminating three programs and moving to a voluntary program featuring the market stabilization component; and the real threat to the future of our dairy industry is not the DSA, but rather a processor-backed approach that will generate cheap milk and lower prices for our farmers.
Farmers can contact their elected officials in support of the DSA by using our online Dairy GREAT tool.