Industry members have expressed significant support for some of the dairy policy reforms put forth in the farm bill that should prove beneficial for dairy farmers. The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) issued a letter to lawmakers, noting the industry’s appreciation for some of the updates and improvements made to various programs and initiatives affecting dairy.
“Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle should be commended for reaching a deal that will benefit U.S. agriculture and ensure safe, affordable food for Americans and the world,” NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said in a news release. “A new law is especially important for dairy, a sector struggling with low prices and disrupted exports. We thank lawmakers for addressing our concerns with measures that will help producers in need.”
The farm bill has been praised by several commodity groups for various provisions and the dairy industry has expressed excitement for the adjustments made that will benefit dairy. Language in the 2018 Farm Bill alters the current Margin Protection Program (MPP), establishing a new program referred to as the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program. The new program will create higher coverage levels to address deficiencies in the current program’s feed-cost formula. There will also be more flexibility for producers of all sizes to access Tier 1 premium rates.
Other dairy policy reforms include expanded access to other additional risk management tools. Dairy farmers will also be able to participate in both MPP and the Livestock Gross Margin insurance program. Trade promotion programs will be receiving full funding in the farm bill, and land and water conservation programs will also continue to receive significant support. There are also provisions related to nutrition that will encourage more consumption of milk.
The 2018 Farm Bill has now passed through both the House and Senate and will be awaiting President Trump’s signature before becoming law.