In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Thursday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota, Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Ranking Member Glenn “G.T.” Thompson of Pennsylvania, and more than 70 Democratic and Republican House colleagues urged the Department to prioritize the implementation of dairy provisions included in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Citing the continued loss of dairy farms, and the deficiencies of previous programs, Peterson and Thompson noted that the 2018 bill can provide needed assistance to dairy farmers. “Provisions of the new farm bill, particularly the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program, will provide much-needed help if they can reach dairy farmers quickly enough,” the letter states.
“Last year the average dairy farm in Minnesota earned $15,000—a third of what it earned in 2017. Given what’s facing dairy farmers, USDA needs to get a move on implementing these dairy programs as soon as possible,” said Peterson. “And I hope USDA will overcommunicate on what the new programs can do for farmers. Congress worked hard to include higher and more affordable coverage options so it’s important that there is outreach so that these folks see just what the new programs can do for them.”
“The 2018 farm bill provides dairy farmers with better risk management tools, improved coverage and more affordable options,” Thompson added. “USDA should fast-track these changes as times remain difficult and producers around the nation need more options. I thank Chairman Peterson for his leadership and commitment to reworking the dairy safety net in a bipartisan way.”
Joining Peterson and Thompson on the letter are Reps. Armstrong, Baird, Bergman, Blumenauer, Bost, Brindisi, Bustos, Carbajal, Cline, Collins of New York, Costa, Courtney, Cox, Craig, DeLauro, DelBene, Delgado, Duffy, Emmer, Fulcher, Gallagher, Garamendi, Gibbs, Gonzalez of Ohio, Graves of Missouri, Grothman, Hagedorn, Harder, Hartzler, Hayes, Higgins of New York, Huizenga, Johnson of South Dakota, Joyce, Katko, Kelly of Pennsylvania, Kind, King of Iowa, Kuster, LaMalfa, Larsen, Long, Luetkemeyer, Sean Patrick Maloney, Marshall, McGovern, McMorris Rodgers, Meuser, Mitchell, Moolenaar, Newhouse, O'Halleran, Panetta, Pocan, Reed, Schrader, Sensenbrenner, Shimkus, Simpson, Slotkin, Smith of Missouri, Smith of Nebraska, Smucker, Spanberger, Stauber, Stefanik, Stivers, Torres Small, Upton, Van Drew, Vela, Walberg, Walorski, Watkins, and Welch.