Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Thursday 01/16/14

NMPF Looks for Safety Net Alternatives

With Congress milking all the drama out of the dairy debate (ha, see what I did there?), the National Milk Producers Federation lamented that House Speaker John Boehner "effectively served to kill" the dairy market stabilization program in the farm bill.

NMPF cited that four years of work went into re-crafting dairy policy to provide a cost-effective safety net.

"The resulting Dairy Security Act measure, contained in the farm bills approved by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees in 2012 and again in 2013, is a loss-prevention margin insurance program that meets those objectives."

NMPF stated its leaders, "were initially heartened that the four bi-partisan leaders of the House-Senate farm bill conference committee" as lawmakers worked to lay out the negotiated framework to the full conference committee. "Despite the long-standing opposition to this plan from House Speaker John Boehner, we were confident we had the votes in the conference committee to defeat any amendment to strike the market stabilization program."

The dairy producers' group noted, "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."

NMPF stated the group is now working with committee staff to come up with other safety-net options "that would contain inducements to help achieve a supply-demand balance and prevent catastrophic milk price collapses like we experienced in 2009."

The group concluded, "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. 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."

ASA Supports Omnibus Provisions


The American Soybean Association stated the 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that cleared final passage on Thursday included priority issues for soybean grower such increased investments for waterways.

According to ASA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction General Account receives $1.6 billion and revises the FY14 cost-sharing formula for the Olmsted Lock & dam project to 75% General Funds and 25$ from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. Currently the cost-share is split evenly and has resulted in the Olmsted project consuming nearly all of the trust-fund dollars. The cost share will free up $81.5 million for other projects that have been delayed because of Olmsted’s cost overruns.

Posted at 7:25PM CST 01/16/14 by Chris Clayton
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