President Trump Signs Farm Bill That Includes Positive Dairy Policy Reforms
January 9, 2019
With NMPF Chairman Randy Mooney in attendance, President Donald Trump signed into law a new farm bill just before Christmas, shortly after Congress passed the legislation. The final bipartisan bill – officially called the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) – made significant improvements to the dairy safety net and risk-management options, reflecting more than two years of effort by NMPF and dairy champions to revamp and revitalize federal dairy programs. Changes include:
- Affordable higher coverage levels in the Dairy Margin Coverage program (renamed from the Margin Protection Program) that will permit all dairy producers to insure margins up to $9.50 on their Tier 1 (first five million pounds) production history;
- Affordable $5.00 margin coverage, reduced in cost by 88 percent. That will make DMC enrollment more attractive to larger producers and create a baseline for meaningful catastrophic coverage at a reasonable cost, without distorting the market signals needed to balance supply with demand.
- Greater flexibility to allow producers of all sizes to access Tier 1 premium rates without having to cover additional milk; and
- Greater flexibility to participate in a suite of USDA programs, including the DMC, the Livestock Gross Margin insurance program and the Dairy Revenue Protection program. That helps producers of all sizes choose programs that best fit their needs, allowing them to effectively manage their risk and plan their business for the next five years.
The work done in the 2018 farm bill builds upon the improvements enacted in the Bipartisan Budget Act passed earlier last year, including dairy safety net reforms spearheaded by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), as well as risk management improvements advanced by Reps. Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Collin Peterson (D-MN).
NMPF commended the bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees – Reps. Conaway and Peterson, and Sens. Stabenow and Pat Roberts (R-KS) – for their diligent, steadfast work to get the farm bill across the finish line. Senior House committee members Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Costa (D-CA) also provided important support.
Since the law’s passage, the USDA has pledged to quickly implement the new dairy rules, bringing much-needed additional aid to producers, pending the resolution of the current government shutdown. NMPF looks forward to working with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and his team to ensure its prompt, effective implementation to the benefit of all dairy producers.