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Published October 14, 2013, 10:50 AM

Senate title limits dairy production

Our disagreement with the Senate bill is the idea that we need a second dairy program, one that will periodically impose government quotas on the amount of milk that dairy farmers can sell.

By: Jerry Slominski, Agweek

“The International Dairy Foods Association agrees that our nation’s dairy farmers will at times need help, which is why we support an effective revenue insurance program included in both the Senate and House versions of the Farm Bill” says the letter to the editor from Sept. 30, “Don’t believe criticism of farm bill’s dairy title.”

Our disagreement with the Senate bill is the idea that we need a second dairy program, one that will periodically impose government quotas on the amount of milk that dairy farmers can sell. The finding that this program could raise the price of a gallon of milk by as much as 35 cents did not come from manufacturers, but instead came from Professor Scott Brown who conducted his research on behalf of proponents of the program. He also concluded that this program will reduce dairy exports.

The House version of the farm bill eliminates this controversial and unpopular program and offers free catastrophic insurance coverage to the great majority of North Dakota’s dairy farms. Contrary to allegations that the program will result in run-away federal costs, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the House dairy title will cost about the same as the Senate dairy title.

The way to increase the number of dairy farms in North Dakota is to grow the industry. Increased dairy prices on consumers and decreased export opportunities are steps in the wrong direction. Sure, dairy farmers will occasionally need help to get them through difficult times, but they don’t need a government program that will tell them how much milk they can produce.

Editor’s note: Slominski is the Senior Vice President of Legislative and Economic Affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association in Washington, DC.

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