Posted: March 3, 2014 at 5:06 pm
By Jamie Johansen
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.
“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.
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Dairy Farmers of America Senior Vice President John Wilson said they were thankful for the new bill, “which replaces outdated dairy programs with an important risk management tool that will help the nation’s dairy farm families maintain financial stability.”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.”
“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.”
Posted: January 28, 2014 at 8:37 am
By News Editor
National 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.”
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 Noel.Favia@wisconsin.gov. You can also visit the WMMB website.
Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:26 am
By Jamie Johansen
Dairy 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.”
Posted: January 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm
By Jamie Johansen
Governor 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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Posted: June 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
Despite 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.”
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
Posted: June 23, 2013 at 1:34 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
Republican 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.
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.
Dairy 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.
Posted: June 20, 2013 at 12:47 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
Despite 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!”
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.
Posted: June 15, 2013 at 9:24 am
By Cindy Zimmerman
Congressman 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.”
“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.”
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.”
Posted: June 10, 2013 at 8:23 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
The Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 by a vote of 66 to 27 on Monday evening, putting even more pressure on the House of Representatives to complete its work to get a bill to conference and passed by the end of summer. Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), a member of the House agriculture committee, is hopeful.
“Certainly that should be the goal,” says Rep. Hartzler. “I know the leadership of the House Ag and I think the Senate Ag Committee as well want to see this done and wrapped up by August, so we’re certainly going to try.”
Rep. Hartzler says the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) of 2013 is a good bill that deserves to pass so she is cautiously optimistic it will once it gets to the floor next week. “But there are going to be a lot of amendments and there is going to be a lot of discussion,” she said. “There’s a lot of controversial aspects to the bill among several members.”
Those controversial issues include food assistance and the dairy program. The full House is expected to take up its version of a farm bill next week.
Posted: May 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
The House Agriculture Committee came out in support of the Dairy Security Act (DSA) on Wednesday, voting to reject an amendment by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and David Scott (D-GA) to remove the supply management mechanism of the act.
“Supply management is antithetical to the future growth of the dairy industry,” Goodlatte and Scott said in a statement expressing their disappointment in the vote. “A supply control program that will directly intervene in markets and increase milk prices will ultimately hurt dairy producers and consumers as well as dairy food manufacturers by stifling industry growth. This program is contrary to the reforms already in the Farm Bill.”
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) was pleased with the outcome. “The House committee has now twice rejected the Goodlatte-Scott effort to undermine establishment of a workable national dairy policy,” said NMPF president and CEO Jerry KozaK. “As the farm bill moves to the House floor, we hope that the committee’s decision today will be the final word on the matter. It is time for dairy processors to end their campaign of divisiveness, and assist us in moving the farm bill toward completion.”
The committee worked for over five hours straight on the bill before taking a break, but will reconvene this evening to finish. By contrast, the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday completed its work in less than four hours. House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) met with farm broadcasters just shortly before his committee began the markup saying he expected it to be a long day but maybe not quite as long as last year’s 15 hour session. “But I would note that we had approximately 100 amendments a year ago, as of this morning we have approximately 100 amendments this time,” he said.
Lucas says the bill will go to the House floor this year “a dramatic improvement over a year ago” but he does expect it to be a struggle. “Whatever we do in the committee, many of the battles – whether it is over dairy, or sugar, or the size of the nutrition reforms, will be fought out again on the floor of the United States House,” he said. “But it’s a struggle we’re prepared to engage in and we’re prepared to move forward on.”
The House Agriculture Committee will take up their version of the bill on Wednesday, where an alternative plan to the DSA will be proposed. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told farm broadcasters meeting in Washington on Tuesday that he expects dairy to be a challenge in the farm bill.
“I think everybody likes the price stabilization piece of it, (but) how do you ensure that it doesn’t break the bank financially,” said Vilsack. “But clearly something’s got to get done in dairy because we’ve had too much volatility and we’ve lost too many of our producers because of it.”
A new analysis of the two dairy proposals under consideration in the House Agriculture Committee finds the Dairy Security Act (DSA) would better for farmers and less costly for taxpayers compared to the Goodlatte-Scott alternative.
The new report, prepared by University of Missouri agricultural economists Scott Brown and Daniel Madison, assessed how each option would have affected farm-level economics during the period 2009 through 2012. Under that model they found the DSA would have increased net farm revenues by $0.55 per cwt over the period studied, while the Goodlatte-Scott amendment would have raised farm revenue by only $0.48 per cwt. In addition, the model suggests that the Goodlatte-Scott proposal would have cost $1 billion over the 2009 to 2012 period compared to the DSA, because it would encourage more milk production at lower margins.
The leadership at Minnesota Milk Producers Association has voted unanimously to support a six-month window between the deadline for making the annual signup decision and the beginning of a coverage period for any margin insurance program to be included in the Farm Bill.
“We are looking for the best policy to provide catastrophic risk insurance for dairy farmers and encourage liquidity in the current futures market, allowing us better opportunities in the long-term,” stated Pat Lunemann, President of Minnesota Milk and dairy producer from Clarissa, Minn. “And we believe including this clause in any future margin insurance program is the right thing to do.”
The meeting and decision was a result of information provided by John Newton, Cameron S. Thraen, Marin Bozic, Mark Stephenson, Christopher Wolf and Brian W. Gould in a recently submitted briefing paper entitled, “Goodlatte-Scott vs. the Dairy Security Act: Shared Potential, Shared concerns and Open Questions.” The direct proposal Minnesota Milk is supporting is outlined at the bottom of page 13.
“An insurance plan is there to help us with potential risk and should not be used as a tool to make money,” stated Greg Jans, chair of Minnesota Milk’s Policy committee and producer from Grove City, Minn. “That’s why Minnesota Milk supports the sign-up period in March with coverage effective in October.”
The leadership at Minnesota Milk will be meeting with Congressional Delegates to encourage the inclusion of this proposal in any margin insurance program included in the Farm Bill.