Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), urged Congress to make passing a new farm bill a top priority in its lame-duck session that starts today, saying that dairy farmers harmed by low prices would benefit from the certainty and improvements likely to be part of the final law.
“Given the sustained low prices dairy farmers have faced, coupled with uncertainty in agricultural trade policy, it is more important than ever that Congress quickly enact the 2018 Farm Bill before adjourning for the year,” said Mulhern. “Both the House and Senate-passed bills make important reforms to dairy policy, making the Margin Protection Program a more effective safety net for producers and expanding producer access to additional risk management options.”
NMPF, whose member cooperatives produce the majority of milk in the United States, commended House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders for working to negotiate a final 2018 Farm Bill this year.
“We are grateful for the hard work the bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have put in to get us to this point,” said Mulhern. “We stand ready to work with them and their colleagues in the coming weeks to get the job done.”
National Milk has actively worked toward securing federal aid for dairy farmers at levels appropriate to the hardships producers face. On Oct. 24, NMPF urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to consider four separate analyses into trade-related dairy losses that each indicate damages of more than $1 billion when USDA calculates its second round of trade-mitigation payments slated for later this year. NMPF members reiterated that call the following week at their annual meeting in Phoenix.