Dairy Deal Unlikely

A congressional push to reform dairy regulations seems unlikely in the wake of the National Farmers Union’s condemnation of a reform bill. The bill, which was proposed by Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson, would reform current dairy subsidies. Peterson’s bill would strengthen farm safety nets by replacing dairy subsidies with new insurance programs and by limiting milk production when prices fall below a certain level (determined by balancing milk prices and production costs).

Reaction to Peterson’s plan has been mixed. The insurance program has been widely hailed as a positive step forward. Farm advocates claim that insurance is a more cost-effective way to support farmers. Insurance programs would allow farms better control of the support they accept from the federal government and would also be better for taxpayers who would no longer be the only support for farmers.

Many groups, however, take issue with the proposed production controls, claiming that it is an inappropriate government intrusion into the free market. Other groups like the Farmers Union argue that the proposed regulations only help large-scale producers and do little to benefit small dairy farmers.

In addition to criticism from the NFU, the bill seems dead in the water for now. House Agricultural Committee Chair has stated that he will not push the proposed legislation through unless the dairy industry is unified behind it.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer