Latest News

House Ag Committee Pushes Dairy Legislation

August 2, 2010


House Ag Committee Pushes Dairy Legislation

On July 28, the House Agriculture Committee approved three key pieces of legislation addressing mandatory dairy price reporting, clean water, and veterinary shortages.

First, the committee approved by voice vote HR 5852, the Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 2010, a bill to amend and reauthorize the reporting on sales of livestock and dairy products. While dairy price reporting was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, it was never funded by USDA. This bill forces USDA to fund the electronic system to collect the data that is currently surveyed. More specifically, the following were the modifications authorized through HR 5852:

  • Amends section 273 of the Agriculture Marketing Act of 1946 to require the Secretary to establish an electronic reporting system for dairy.
  • Directs the Secretary to publish the information reported through the electronic reporting system by 3:00 PM ET, each Wednesday.
  • Requires the Secretary to implement the electronic reporting system for dairy not later than one year following enactment of this Act.

Efforts now turn to the Senate Agriculture Committee to pass similar legislation through their panel before Sept. 30th.

Second, the Agriculture panel approved the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act (HR 5509). The legislation, a bipartisan effort by the panel’s Subcommittee on Conservation Chairman Tim Holden (D-Pa.) and Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), is a common-sense approach to addressing the needs to improve the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The bill provides sound incentives to support additional environmental best management practices beyond minimum state regulatory compliance requirements, and gives much-needed assurances to farmers and ranchers that by taking certain steps, they will meet expectations to improve water quality in the watershed. The bill now moves on to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to mark up the non-agricultural aspects.

The House bill is contrasted by what is happening in the Senate, where last month, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act of 2009 (S. 1816). The legislation, introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), aims to aggressively address pollution in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Last week, NMPF joined other groups in the agriculture community in opposing the legislation.

Lastly, the Agriculture Committee approved the Veterinary Services Investment Act (H.R. 3519). The bill, which also passed by a voice vote, establishes a competitive grant program at USDA to develop, implement, and sustain veterinary services in underserved areas.