Dairy Farmers Split on Farm Bill

Dairy farmers across the country are split on the 2012 Farm Bill, specifically the dairy insurance provisions contained in the Senate version of the bill.

For the past several years, dairy farmers have been in economic flux. While the agricultural sector as a whole is doing well, many dairy farmers are finding themselves in an economic pinch due to increased fuel costs. Rising fuel costs have lead to increased feed costs, cutting into many farmers’ bottom lines.

One of the farm bill’s provisions creates a new insurance program for dairy farmers. It operates by balancing dairy prices and operation costs. If the cost of fuel or feed increases too much in relation to dairy prices, the insurance kicks in and dairy farmers receive payments.

The problem, many farmers say, is that this program is not adaptive enough for all regions. Many California dairy farmers, for example, claim that their fuel and feed costs are often significantly higher than costs for farmers in other parts of the country, largely due to their distance from feed farms in the Midwest.

According to the head of the Western United Dairymen, “Unfortunately, the proposal that is in the dairy title in the Senate farm bill severely discriminates against dairy farmers, actually in most parts of country, because most parts of the country rely on imports of feedstuffs coming from the Midwest.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer