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Farm Bill Proposal Builds Momentum For DPR

10 October 2011

US - Senior Senate Agriculture Committee member Dick Lugar has introduced a farm bill proposal that includes the dairy policy reforms (DPR) advocated by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), a development that NMPF and Dairy Farmers of America welcomed “as a major step forward in improving dairy policy.”

Mr Lugar, a former chair of the Senate Ag Committee, and Republican Marlin Stutzman, a freshman member of the House Agriculture Committee, have jointly introduced a bill they call the Rural Economic Farm and Ranch Sustainability and Hunger Act (REFRESH).

This bill would reduce farm programme spending by $16 billion, and save a total of $40 billion compared to current policy. A complete bill summary and legislative draft of REFRESH may be found at www.lugar.senate.gov and www.stutzman.house.gov.

For the dairy title of the Farm Bill, the REFRESH legislation includes the key elements of the Dairy Security Act (DSA) of 2011, which previously was introduced in the House as HR 3062 by Reps. Collin Peterson and Mike Simpson.

The DSA is modeled after the extensive dairy reforms first proposed by NMPF. The DSA itself represents a 20 per cent savings compared to the current dairy program budget, amounting to $131 million over ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“We appreciate Senator Lugar and Republican Stutzman recognising the value of including the principles of NMPF’s Foundation for the Future in their Farm Bill proposal,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF.

“The REFRESH bill, along with the Dairy Security Act in the House, now gives us the opportunity in both chambers of Congress to push for dairy reforms that will give farmers protection, stability and growth.”

The key dairy policy changes in the REFRESH bill include: replacing the dairy price support (DPPSP) and milk income loss contract (MILC) programmes with a voluntary margin protection programme that covers 80 per cent of the producers’ production history when margins fall below $4 per hundred-weight; giving producers the option of whether to enroll in a market stabilisation programme; and reforming the Federal Milk Marketing Order system by moving to a competitive pay price.

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