The National Milk Producers Federation’s (NMPF) Board of Directors is supporting a resolution urging Congress to pass a farm bill in 2012, one that contains an improved safety net for farmers in the form of the Dairy Security Act.

The resolution, passed unanimously by the NMPF Board at its spring meeting, made it clear that the organization does not support any approach in Congress that would extend current farm programs by another year, and delay the creation of a better dairy program.

“Kicking the can down the road into 2013, where the farm bill is concerned, is neither good politics, nor good policy,” said Randy Mooney, Chairman of NMPF and a dairy farmer from Rogersville, Missouri. “The tough choices about budget priorities won’t be any easier next year. But more to the point, dairy farmers need a better program than what we have right now. A farm bill extension in 2012 doesn’t do us any good.”

Mooney said he was encouraged that leaders in both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees have recently expressed hope that each chamber can complete work on a bill prior to the summer.

NMPF has worked since 2009 to formulate a comprehensive economic safety net that is based on margins, rather than just the farm level price of milk. After developing its own proposal, Foundation for the Future, NMPF worked with Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson to encapsulate those concepts into H.R. 3062, the Dairy Security Act.

“At some point, we have to hold Congress accountable for providing a stable safety net going forward,” Mooney said. “We’ve seen prices drop significantly in the first quarter of 2012, and margins are again compressed, even as farmers are struggling to recover from the severe losses in 2009.” 

The full text of the NMPF Farm Bill resolution reads:

“WHEREAS, the NMPF Board of Directors recognizes that lower milk prices and higher feed costs are likely to result in significantly reduced operating margins for dairy producers across the country in 2012, and

“WHEREAS, the NMPF Board of Directors also recognizes the ineffectiveness of current federal programs designed to help protect the livelihood of dairy producers, as witnessed during the catastrophic margins of 2009, it is:

“RESOLVED, that the United States Congress be urged to pass a new farm bill as soon as possible that includes the provisions of the Dairy Security Act, and it is further

“RESOLVED, that the NMPF Board of Directors does not support an extension of the current farm bill and urges Congress to enact the Dairy Security Act if a farm bill is not enacted in 2012.”