The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today lauded the House Agriculture Committee for approving a draft of the 2018 Farm Bill that contains key dairy policy improvements, a significant first step toward enacting a new Farm Bill before the current one expires this fall.
Among the provisions of significance to the U.S. dairy industry in the House bill are additional improvements to the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP). The measure raises the maximum covered margin to $9/cwt. and adjusts the minimum percentage of milk that can be insured; both measures will offer greater flexibility for dairy producers. It also includes provisions of an important agreement reached between NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association on price risk management.
“It’s important that the Farm Bill process continue moving forward,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “As U.S. dairy farmers weather a fourth-straight year of depressed milk prices, making additional improvements to the dairy safety net through this farm bill becomes more critical with each passing day.”
The House bill also addresses several other NMPF priorities. The conservation title helps producers access technical and financial assistance to carry out multiple conservation practices on their land and water. Under the trade title, the Farm Bill authorizes the trade promotion programs that are critical to dairy farmers and their cooperatives. The bill also includes helpful provisions intended to increase fluid milk consumption. NMPF looks forward to working with Congress on these issues as the process continues.
In a letter sent to Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) before the committee’s markup, NMPF expressed gratitude for the members’ engagement and efforts in securing the aforementioned NMPF proposals, and others, in the House bill.
“We recognize that the process of completing each Farm Bill is long and complex, with many twists and turns in the road,” said the letter. “As the process continues, we look forward to continuing to work with you and your Senate counterparts to complete work on a bipartisan, bicameral bill that can be signed into law by the President before the current law expires.”