World Dairy Diary

House Bill Blocking Changes in FDA Feed Regulation

NMPFLogoPMS281BlueWords44KBAccording to Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the organization supports the legislation introduced to stop the FDA from making it harder to use beer by-products in animal feed.

“We need to keep the brew in the moo on our farms, and this legislation is a signal that the FDA needs to rethink the regulation that it is pursuing.”

He said there is no public heath risk associated with the long-standing practice of using brewers’ grains as animal feed.

This proposed FDA regulations would increase costs to dairy farmers. Mulhern said farmers have been using high-protein brewers’ grains in livestock feed for hundreds of years.

“Last fall, the FDA suggested imposing stricter requirements for handling spent grains sold or donated to farmers as part of new feed regulations proposed under the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act. The changes would require spent grains to be dried and packaged, before being passed on to farmers. Typically, farmers now receive wet grains, which help hydrate livestock.”

“Both the beer industry and agricultural groups, including NMPF, object to the planned changes, and we are encouraged that the FDA has said recently it will review its draft language. In the meantime, we support the legislative approach offered by Reps. Steve Womack (R-AR), Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) to highlight the importance of this issue.”

NMPF Asks FDA to Rewrite Draft Animal Feed Regulation

NMPFLogoPMS281BlueWords44KBThe National Milk Producers Federation has asked the Food and Drug Administration to rewrite a draft livestock feed regulation, saying the agency went beyond the intent of Congress by seeking to impose requirements that will not make animal feed safer.

In comments sent to the agency Monday, NMPF asked FDA to substantially revise the regulation and requested the agency establish a new round of comments from industry and the public. “FDA has the authority to re-propose the regulation and still comply with (a) court-ordered deadline to publish a final rule by August 30, 2015,” NMPF said. NMPF made the request in two sets of comments, one focused on dairy plant safety and the other addressing animal feed.

The draft regulations were issued under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which gave the FDA broad new authority to regulate food. NMPF said it supports efforts to implement the 2010 law, but believes that the draft animal feed regulation goes too far, particularly because it would make it harder to use brewers’ grain as animal feed, a practice in use for hundreds of years.

Among other things, NMPF, the Washington voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers, said the draft regulation incorrectly imposes safety standards on animal feed that are similar to those for human food. The proposed regulation incorrectly establishes manufacturing standards that equate animal feed and human food. “The innate hygienic standards of humans exceed the hygienic standards of livestock,” the organization said. It asked FDA to propose manufacturing standards specific to animal feed.

The proposed regulation also unnecessarily regulates by-products from brewing when they are used in animal feed, even though there is no public health risk associated with these products. This “will result in unnecessary increased costs to dairy producers,” NMPF said. It joined the Beer Institute and the American Malting Barley Association in requesting FDA use the existing authority in the FSMA to exempt animal feed products made during the production of alcoholic beverages.

In separate comments submitted jointly with the International Dairy Foods Association, NMPF also identified unnecessary and duplicative requirements for dairy processing plants which may divert some food production materials such as cheese trim and liquid whey to animal feed. These plants are already subject to FSMA requirements for human food production. NMPF stated the proposed standards “do not reflect the inherent differences between foods for human and animal consumption” for diverted food production materials and requested regulatory relief for these dairy processing plants.

With the substantial changes requested, NMPF asked FDA to conform the regulations with the intent of the FSMA and issue a new draft. “Given the very significant nature of these regulations, a second opportunity for stakeholders comment is essential to ensure the final rule is practical, achievable and fosters the safe production and distribution of animal feed,” NMPF said.

Dairy Industry Applauds White House Strategy

America’s dairy farmers, cooperatives, processors, manufacturers, and other industry leaders applaud today’s announcement by the White House of a Biogas and Energy Roadmap to reduce methane emissions from agriculture.

In its announcement, the White House formally cited the work of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s Sustainability Council, whose efforts in part include a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to proactively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including methane.

“This announcement validates the path the dairy industry is on – one focused on proactive incentives that can increase farm income, not punitive regulations that would add more costs,” said Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer of the National Milk Producers Federation, which develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy farmers and the cooperatives they own. “Because of our recent efforts and farmers’ long-standing environmental stewardship, the White House strategy for agriculture includes a commitment to cost-effective, voluntary actions to reduce methane emissions through partnerships and programs.”

A Biogas and Energy Roadmap will be developed in partnership with the dairy industry to accelerate the adoption of biogas systems and other cost-effective technologies. For example, the recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus, valuable soil nutrients, has the potential to make these systems revenue-enhancing for dairy farms of all sizes. The roadmap will help the industry seize these opportunities by:

– Breaking down inter-governmental agency barriers, providing dairy operations access to resources because it formally recognizes biogas systems as a proven and effective technology to mitigate environmental risks;
– Stimulating and accelerating research to advance technologies, such as for extracting nutrients from food waste and manure; and
– Attracting additional third-party investment, both financial and technical, to support the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment.

Through the Innovation Center, the dairy industry ramped up its efforts to build business value while reducing environmental impact across the value chain more than five years ago. These efforts provide a way for dairy farm families to turn environmental risks into new revenue streams, and demonstrate farmers’ ongoing commitment to being even better neighbors.

“This is great news for America’s dairy farm families of all sizes across the country,” said Tom Gallagher, chief executive officer of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which brings together leaders of dairy farmer organizations, cooperatives, processors, manufacturers, and brands to foster innovation. “For decades, dairy farmers have demonstrated a commitment to environmental stewardship, and adopting new practices and technologies along the path to continuous improvement. Our work continues.”

Biogas systems have been singled out because of the significant potential they have to help address methane, which are the single largest source of dairy’s greenhouse gas emissions. These systems recycle cow manure and food waste into valuable co-products like fertilizer, renewable energy and cow bedding. New technologies can optimize this potential and deliver economic benefits to dairy farms and those they work with, as well as the communities in which they operate.

“The roadmap makes good sense – not just for dairy, but for rural communities that realize economic benefits, including job creation, through innovation,” Gallagher said.

Opposition Allowing Interstate Sales of Raw Milk

The nation’s dairy farmers and dairy companies today expressed their opposition to new legislation in Congress that would allow the interstate sales of raw milk, saying that any additional availability of the product will increase the number of sicknesses and deaths of people who consume it.

The International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation said that “the risks inherent in raw dairy products are not worth any imagined benefits to either consumers or producers of unpasteurized milk products. Raw milk skips the pasteurization safety process, and this is playing Russian roulette with the health of too many Americans – including many of our children.”

The two associations urged lawmakers to reject the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014,” a bill introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), which would repeal a long-standing ban on the sales across state lines of unpasteurized milk. Federal law currently gives states the discretion to regulate raw milk within their borders, but the dairy organizations expressed concern that repealing the interstate ban would greatly increase the production and consumption of a known health hazard.

“If this measure passes, those most vulnerable to dangerous pathogens – children – are the ones who will suffer the most. The benefits of consuming raw milk are illusory, but the painful costs of illness and death are very real,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Productions Federation.

“Consumption of raw milk is a demonstrated public health risk. The link between raw milk and foodborne illness has been well‐documented in the scientific literature, with evidence spanning nearly 100 years. Raw milk is a key vehicle in the transmission of human pathogens, including E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella,” he stated.

Several states in recent years have considered and approved legislation expanding the sales of raw milk, even as the product has been repeatedly linked to serious illnesses from coast to coast.

“Our dairy industry benefits from a very high degree of consumer confidence – confidence built in large part due to the excellent food safety record of milk and dairy products,” said Connie Tipton, President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association. “While choice is an important value, it should not pre‐empt consumers’ well‐being. To further ease the regulations surrounding the national sale of raw milk is an unnecessary risk to consumer safety.”

The two dairy groups said that the Centers for Disease Control has reported that nearly 75 percent of raw milk‐associated outbreaks have occurred in states where sale of raw milk was legal. Only one to two percent of reported foodborne outbreaks are attributed to dairy products. However, of those, over 70 percent have been attributed to raw milk and inappropriately‐aged raw milk cheeses.

“Seldom has the science behind public health policy been so clearly one-sided. Pathogenic bacteria can be found on any dairy farm, regardless of its cleanliness or the good intentions of its owner. This legislation is a threat to public health and should not be approved,” the organizations said.

North Missouri Dairy Day Scheduled for March 10

Milk producers across Missouri can hear updates on dairy law in the new farm bill—and a milk price outlook, Monday, March 10 at the North Missouri Dairy Day.

University Of Missouri Extension economist, Joe Horner, will present at the program which begins at 9:30am at Barton Campus of North Central Missouri College in Trenton, MO.

Also on the program is Ryan Milhollin, University Of Missouri Extension economist, who will discuss how to use pasture and forage insurance for drought protection. He will also share what he learned during the 2012 drought on small-scale forage irrigation.

Via webinar, Stacey Hamilton, MU Extension Dairy Specialist, will share innovations and research in grazing at the MU Southwest Center in Mt. Vernon, MO.

Rob Kallenbach, MU Extension Forage Specialist, will talk about properly growing and harvesting good quality alfalfa. And Joe Zulovich MU Extension Engineer will discuss cow comfort and cooling.

The day long program is free and includes lunch. Register by calling Hannah McClure at 573-884-6311.

Farm Bill With Dairy Reform Signed

fb-signingPresident Obama traveled to Michigan State University to sign the Agricultural Act of 2014 on Friday.

“Despite its name, the farm bill is not just about helping farmers,” President Obama told the small crowd invited for the signing. “Secretary Vilsack calls it a jobs bill, an innovation bill, an infrastructure bill, a research bill, a conservation bill. It’s like a Swiss Army knife.”

Obama said passage of the bill by Congress is a good sign they can get other work done. “We’ve got more work to do – to do immigration reform that will help farmers,” he said.

Listen to or download the president’s speech here: President Obama farm bill signing

Commenting on the signing, Dairy Farmers of America Senior Vice President John Wilson said they were thankful for the new bill, “which replaces outdated dairy programs with an important risk management tool that will help the nation’s dairy farm families maintain financial stability.”

“We would like to thank our members, supporters in Congress and National Milk Producers Federation for their tireless pursuit of new dairy policy and a completed bill.

“The unified voice the dairy producer community expressed during this process is admirable, and while the final bill does not reflect the exact policy we had proposed, we achieved our goal of creating dairy policy that will better serve U.S. dairy farmers.”

Farm Bill Passed with New Dairy Program

fb-2014The U.S. Senate Tuesday voted 68-32 to approve the Agricultural Act of 2014 which contains a new program for dairy producers.

“It has been a long and torturous road toward the creation of a better safety net for dairy farmers,” said National Milk Producers Federation president and CEO Jim Mulhern.

“We didn’t wind up precisely where we wanted in terms of the dairy program, but the milk glass is more than half-full. The new farm bill replaces three outmoded programs intended to help farmers – but that often failed in that effort. In their place is a new, more modern, and more comprehensive margin protection program offering dairy producers a far better and more effective safety net. Because it is designed to protect against periods of both low milk prices as well as high feed costs, margin insurance is a better risk management tool to help farmers deal with the global volatility in commodity prices in the 21st century.”

Dairy Farmers of America Senior Vice President John Wilson says while they are disappointed the bill does not include the Dairy Security Act (DSA), they “encouraged the new bill replaces outdated dairy policy and includes a margin insurance program, similar to that in the DSA.”

NMPF Farm Bill Statement

nmpfNational Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has released this statement regarding the completion of the dairy title in the new Farm Bill.

“Over the past week, NMPF has worked with agriculture leaders in the House and Senate to develop a margin insurance program that will offer dairy farmers an effective safety net in the absence of the market stabilization component featured in our original program.

“That process is now complete. Despite its limitations, we believe the revised program will help address the volatility in farmers’ milk prices, as well as feed costs, and provide appropriate signals to help address supply and demand.

“The program that we have worked to develop establishes a reasonable and responsible national risk management tool that will give farmers the opportunity to insure against catastrophic economic conditions, when milk prices drop, feed prices soar, or the combination. By limiting how much future milk production growth can be insured, the measure creates a disincentive to produce excess milk. The mechanism used is not what we would have preferred, but it will be better than just a stand-alone margin insurance program that lacks any means to disincentivize more milk production during periods of over-supply.

“Importantly, the program doesn’t discriminate against farms of differing sizes, or preferentially treat those in differing regions.

“The revised bill also establishes a system for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) purchase consumer-packaged dairy products during low-margin periods, which will stimulate demand and help dairy farmers when they need it most, and only then.”

Source: National Milk Producers Federation

Time for Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Elections

PrintThe Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has announced the nine districts up for election on the 2014 Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB).

District 1 Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Rusk, Sawyer and Washburn Counties
District 4 Barron and Polk Counties
District 7 Clark County
District 10 Brown, Door and Kewaunee Counties
District 13 Buffalo, Pierce and Pepin Counties
District 16 Fond du Lac, Green Lake and Marquette Counties
District 19 Columbia and Dodge Counties
District 22 Grant County
District 25 Green, Rock and Walworth Counties

The elections are overseen by DATCP and they want all interested farmers to submit a nomination to represent their district. Nominees must actively sell milk into commercial channels and line in the district up for election.

Info postcards will be sent out later this month to all licensed dairy farms in affected districts. All forms must be submitted by Feb. 21st.

For more information contact Noel Favia at 608-224-5140 or You can also visit the WMMB website.

Dairy Farmers Oppose Supply Management

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 10.18.08 AMDairy producer groups from across the United States have teamed up to urge Farm Bill conferees to oppose Supply Management. The proposal is known as the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP).

A letter signed by numerous dairy farmer associations urges conferees to follow the lead of the House of Representatives, which rejected this controversial new dairy program to impose milk quotas on dairy farmers by more than a two to one margin and replace it with language that allows farmers to participate in a margin insurance program without being required to participate in DMSP.

“It simply is not factual when Representative Peterson states that all dairy farmers want the government to control the milk they produce on their farms through the DMSP. Many dairy farmers from all over the country are aligned and opposed to Supply Management,” said Laurie Fischer, Executive Director of the Dairy Business Association.

The letter reads: “As dairy producers and businesses working in the dairy industry, we ask that you support the dairy title as amended in the House version of the Farm Bill, which excludes the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, also known as Supply Management,”

“We believe this convoluted system is the wrong approach,” the dairy groups continue. “Dairy farmers who take advantage of the margin insurance should not be required to participate in a program that would have the government directly interfere in the milk supply. Limiting the milk supply will discourage further investment and hurt our exports.”

The letter concludes, “We ask you to please work with your fellow conferees to ensure that the final Farm Bill does not include the DMSP, but rather provides a safety net for dairy farmers without Supply Management. A strong majority of the House of Representatives believes this is the right approach for dairy policy and the dairy farmers in the United States hope you will join their leadership in seeing this through to the finish line.”

The complete letter can be found here.

New York Governor Creates $21Million for Dairy Farmers

Seal_of_New_YorkGovernor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced nearly $21 million will be available to create new economic opportunities for New York’s dairy farmers by helping them to produce renewable energy and improve their business operations. The funding will help dairy farmers convert farm waste to energy and develop individualized business and environmental plans to reduce operating costs and increase profitability.

“The State is committed to creating new economic opportunities for our dairy farmers, who have helped make New York the Yogurt Capital of the nation,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this funding, we are providing significant financial assistance to farmers so they can cut their energy costs, increase efficiencies in their operations, and develop plans to expand their businesses and contribute to cleaner communities. This year, we are also launching a second Yogurt Summit to ensure the state’s dairy industry continues to thrive and grow the Upstate economy.”

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), said, “The anaerobic digester funding coupled with the Dairy Acceleration Program funding is another step the State is taking, under Governor Cuomo, to assist farmers in reducing their operating costs and in generating clean energy. Farmers that utilize anaerobic digester technology are able to produce renewable energy and lower their costs while providing a number of environmental benefits to their local communities.”

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens said, “Governor Cuomo’s continued support has achieved environmentally responsible growth in the dairy industry throughout the state. This collaboration with our partners, including Cornell University, provides farms with the technical expertise they need to help protect New York’s natural resources and open spaces.”

Starting on January 17, $20 million will be available through NYSERDA to install anaerobic digester technology that produces renewable biogas used to produce electricity and heat from organic wastes. Farms, food processing manufacturers or municipal wastewater sites would be eligible for up to $2 million per project.

Funding for the Dairy Acceleration Program (DAP) will be increased by $850,000, which is in addition to the $1 million announced by the Governor this past August. DAP is jointly funded by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and DEC. DAP is resonating very positively with dairy farmers across the state, most with herds under 300 cows. Combined with some funding still available under the current program, this new funding will serve at least 100 more dairy farms across New York.

To apply for DAP, visit.

Milk Production Surveys to Resume

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will resume milk production quarterly producer surveys in the new federal fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2013.

NASS suspended the surveys in April of this year to meet the budget reductions required by sequestration. The agency uses information gathered in the quarterly surveys along with various sources of administrative data to establish the monthly milk production estimates. With the quarterly surveys, the dairy cow and milk per cow statistics will once again be available. These are critical data points for interested parties to forecast future milk supply. The program will resume with a late September mailing of the survey form to producers and the release of resulting data on October 21.

Source: Agricultural Statistics Board of the U.S. Department of Agriculture

New Funds Available to N.Y. Farmers

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched several initiatives to help keep the dairy industry strong in his state.

Among the initiatives announced by Cuomo is the Dairy Acceleration Program, making $1 million in funding available to help dairy farmers develop individualized business and environmental plans.

Through the program, farmers will be able to tap into the expertise of the Cornell Cooperative Extension network, Cornell PRO-DAIRY and other agricultural programs to facilitate and grow their business and in turn increase production on their farms.

Cuomo also pointed to recent legislation supporting farmers in their efforts to concern farm waste into renewable energy through anaerobic digesters.

“New York’s dairy farms are in a unique position to benefit from the exciting ascension of the yogurt industry as they supply healthy, local milk to the yogurt makers in their own “backyard.” Governor Cuomo’s new initiatives will not only help our farms grow in a responsible way, but in turn, will help our rural economy grow as well. We appreciate his continued recognition that New York’s diverse farms are an integral part of the business community Upstate and on Long Island,” said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau.

Source: Dairy Herd Network

Groups Frustrated with Passage of House Bill

Agricultural groups are discouraged with the passage today of the U.S. House of Representatives’ H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (FARRM). The bill slid through with a tight margin of 216 to 208 after more than six hours of debate today and did not include food stamp authorization or nutrition programs, which the House says it will address as separate issues.

In terms of how the bill would affect the dairy industry, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) noted that he worked for four years on a dairy policy and that he lost a vote on the floor for that policy and that was not an easy thing to swallow. “But despite this, I was going to vote in favor of the bill and did vote in favor of the bill,” he said.Rep Peterson

Peterson, who is the Agricultural Committee Ranking member, said they would continue to work with the House on the issue and believes that the bill would have passed sooner if the Goodlatte-Scott dairy amendment had been removed.

Jerry Kozak, President and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation agrees that the Goodlatte-Scott dairy amendment is flawed as well as the entire farm bill that was passed containing a repeal of permanent agricultural law. “Neither of these measures serves the best long-term interests of dairy farmers. The Senate, by contrast, overwhelmingly passed the complete Dairy Security Act, which the National Milk Producers Federation and nearly all dairy farmers enthusiastically supported.

“Nevertheless, today’s action means that there is still hope that a new farm bill can be passed in 2013,” continued Kozak. “Without any progress toward a Senate-House conference committee, we were looking at yet another one-year extension of current programs, which is unacceptable. Today’s vote means that agricultural leaders now can work on improving the House bill and developing better dairy policy than what exists now, and what is contained in this House bill.”

Peterson is optimistic that a five-year farm bill can still be passed that is more favorable to the dairy industry, but the first step is for the House-Senate conference committee to draft a compromised version of the bill. Should one not be passed by both the Senate and the House, the current Farm Bill is set to expire on September 30, 2013.

Senate Passes Immigration Reform Bill

senate-immigrationDespite concerns by some members about the agricultural provisions, the full Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform legislation on Thursday by a vote of 68-32.

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) took to the floor Wednesday evening to detail some of his concerns about the farm worker provisions in the bill and amendments that he wanted to see added.
The Georgia senator’s main issues center around requirements under the “Blue Card” program the new legislation would set up that he feels could add too many farm workers and ultimately make it easier for them to move out of agriculture and into other areas of employment.

Chambliss spent time detailing the amendments he would like to offer that would fix some of the concerns he has and said he was disappointed they would not be considered. “The ag portion of this bill is a critical piece of the legislation and I’m afraid it’s been overshadowed by some of the other issues,” he said. “Ultimately, I want what’s best for American agriculture.”

Listen to or download – Senator Saxby Chambliss 6/26/13

Agricultural groups hailed passage of the Senate bill within minutes of the final vote.

“We’ve known for years that the status quo employment situation in dairy farming is not sustainable. Today, the Senate moved decisively past that admission, and voted to change our labor and immigration laws for the better,” said National Milk Producers Federation president and CEO Jerry Kozak “Rather than tinker with what wasn’t working, this new immigration measure builds something new and much better.”

“The key is to demonstrate to a majority of the House that action is needed. The bill the House will consider is going to be different than this Senate bill, but the critical thing is that a bill addressing the needs of agriculture must be passed by the House. Inaction is not an option,” Kozak said.

Speaker of the House John Boehner said in a press conference today, “The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes. We’re going to do our own bill, through regular order.” (Audio and video below) Boehner on Immigration Reform

Dairy and Food Stamps Kill Farm Bill

peterson-fbRepublican amendments to the dairy program and giving states the option to require able-bodied food stamp recipients to seek employment were the straws that broke the camel’s back when it came to getting a farm bill passed in the House last week. The dairy measure was the Goodlatte-Scott amendment, which effectively killed the Dairy Security Act included in the bill, and the food stamps amendment was sponsored by Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL).

“Those two votes cost us a lot of votes and I would guess it didn’t get them a damn thing on their side,” House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) told reporters after the vote.

Collin Peterson comments

More farm bill reaction.

In fact, at least 58 Republicans who voted in favor of the deal-killing Southerland amendment voted against the final bill, which was pointed out by several Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who was blamed specifically in a statement by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (D-VA) for failure to pass the bill. Watch her reaction in the YouTube video below.

Klippenstein Attends Immigration Panel

DFAlogoDairy Farmers of America’s vice president of industry and legislative affairs, Jackie Klippenstein, served on the National Council of Farmer Cooperative’s (NCFC) immigration reform panel.

The panel, Our Nation’s Immigration System Needs Work: Co-op Perspectives on the Need for Reform, gave attendees an understanding of what immigration reform means for a diverse range of agricultural producers across the country. Joining Klippenstein on the panel were Rich Hudgins of California Canning Peach Association and Bob Smith of Farm Credit East. The session was moderated by Chuck Conner, president and chief executive officer of NCFC.

The NCFC panel was especially timely, as the Senate voted on cloture this week, signaling their commitment to moving forward S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.

As a panelist, Klippenstein spoke in support of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform proposal, which includes compromise language for the agriculture sector. S. 744 includes agricultural provisions that address current undocumented workers while creating two new types of farm worker visas — one for seasonal workers, and one that meets the needs of dairy producers for year-round help.

Source: Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.

House Farm Bill Fails

fb-no-buttonDespite an impassioned plea by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas to “move this bill forward” the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (FARRM) failed on a vote of 194 to 234, with 60 Republicans joining the majority of Democrats to defeat the House version of the farm bill.

“If it fails today, I can’t guarantee you’ll see in this Congress another attempt,” said Lucas. “If you care about your folks, if you care about this institution … vote with me on final. If you don’t, when you leave here they’ll just say it’s a dysfunctional body, a broken institution full of dysfunctional people. That’s not true!”

Listen to Rep. Lucas urging his colleagues to vote for the bill Rep. Frank Lucas on the House farm bill

Among the Republicans voting against the bill was Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), despite the fact that the House voted to approve his amendment striking the Dairy Market Stabilization Program and replacing it with a stand-alone margin insurance program for dairy producers.

Here’s a link to Roll Call vote.

Rep. Peterson Celebrates June Dairy Month

peterson-dairyCongressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) visited with Kandiyohi County Dairy Ambassadors during West Central Dairy Days in Willmar last week. He is pictured here with ambassadors Caroline Holmberg; Kristen, Kate, and Meghan Dimler; and Eva Damhof.

“As we celebrate National Dairy Month, a number of festivals are being held in communities across the 7th District in tribute to the hard work of our dairy farmers,” Peterson said in his weekly newsletter. “The Senate passed their version of the Farm Bill late Monday night, so now it is up to the House to finish our work and get both sides to conference.”

“This process has gone on far too long but with the strong bipartisan support in the Senate, I’m optimistic the House will be able to consider our farm bill next week. It’s going to be difficult but if everything stays on track, I believe it’s possible to get a bill to the President before the August recess, finally providing some certainty for our farmers, ranchers and consumers,” said Peterson, adding that Speaker Boehner has now said he will support the House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill, despite some reservations. “The House Rules Committee has announced a potential meeting next week to set the parameters for debating the farm bill on the floor of the House.”

Boehner Supports Farm Bill Despite Dairy Provisions

boehnerSpeaker of the House John Boehner says he would vote for the House Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) of 2013, but intends to try and change the dairy provisions.

“I’ve got concerns about the farm bill, as I told our members,” Boehner said during the Republican Leadership press conference Wednesday. “But doing nothing means that we get no changes in the farm program, no changes in the nutrition program. And as a result, I’m going to vote for the farm bill to make sure that the good work of the Agriculture Committee and whatever the floor might do to improve this bill gets to a conference so that we can get the kind of changes that people want in our nutrition programs and our farm programs.”

Boehner sound bite: Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)

On Monday, Boehner released a statement about the farm bill noting that his main problem with the bill is dairy. “I had concerns about some of the dairy provisions of the Farm Bill last year, and those concerns remain this year. I oppose those provisions and will support efforts on the House floor to change them appropriately.”

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