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Published January 17, 2014, 10:44 AM

National Milk Producers Federation concedes market stabilization defeat

The National Milk Producers Federation, the nation’s largest association of dairy farmers, conceded on Jan. 16 that Congress will not pass the market stabilization program that is has sought as part of a new dairy program, and that the group must engage in discussions about alternatives.

By: Jerry Hagstrom, Agweek

WASHINGTON — The National Milk Producers Federation, the nation’s largest association of dairy farmers, conceded on Jan. 16 that Congress will not pass the market stabilization program that is has sought as part of a new dairy program, and that the group must engage in discussions about alternatives.

The International Dairy Foods Association, which represents processors, calls that part of the program supply management.

“Despite the long-standing opposition to this plan from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, we were confident we had the votes in the conference committee to defeat any amendment to strike the market stabilization program,” National Milk President Jim Mulhern said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, the speaker’s threat that he would not allow a vote on a farm bill containing the market stabilization program has effectively served to kill our proposal within the committee.”

“We are now engaged in discussions with agriculture committee staff on an alternative approach to creating a dairy safety net that would contain inducements to help achieve a supply-demand balance and prevent catastrophic milk price collapses like we experienced in 2009,” Mulhern continued.

“At this point, it is conceivable that an alternative mechanism could be developed, relying upon adjustments to the program’s margin insurance payout structure and participant premium rates, among other options,” he said.

“Any such approach must still offer an effective risk management tool to farmers, while containing suitable incentives to program enrollees to achieve cost controls. As always, the devil is in the details, and we will not support any program that does not effectively address the needs of our members throughout the U.S.”

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