Risk management programs for dairy part of farm bill debates

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) commended farmers from member cooperatives who are speaking up for dairy’s needs at farm bill listening sessions held by members of Congress. 

“From sustainability and trade to providing an adequate safety net to producers of all sizes, dairy farmer voices are critical to crafting federal farm programs that serve the entire nation,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We commend the farmers who own our member cooperatives for sharing their insights. We also thank Congress for making sure that dairy is heard as the next Farm Bill begins taking shape.”

A session in Minnesota was held following an event in Washington state in July. Both are part of a series of sessions being held to prepare for the 2023 Farm Bill.

Farm bill safety net and risk management programs are critical to the economic viability of American dairy producers, farmers told members of the House Agriculture Committee during the sessions. Farmers representing NMPF member cooperatives Associated Milk Producers Inc., Dairy Farmers of America and Northwest Dairy Association shared their perspectives on the upcoming farm bill during the events hosted by Rep. Angie Craig, D-MN, and Rep. Kim Schrier, D-WA. 

During the listening session held in Northfield, Min., Steve Schlangen, chairman of Associated Milk Producers Inc. and an NMPF executive committee member, emphasized the value of the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program. Created in the 2018 Farm Bill at NMPF’s urging, DMC is designed to ensure that dairy farmers can protect themselves against financial catastrophe and market fluctuations. 

Schlangen urged the committee to strengthen the program by carrying the Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage update over into the next Farm Bill to compensate farmers for modest increases in production since the program formula was created in 2014. He was joined by Charles Krause, a Dairy Farmers of America farmer from Buffalo, and KC Graner, a Land O’Lakes ag retail member-owner from Truman, Min., who among other topics supported the Dairy Donation Program to connect dairy products to food insecure families and additional funding and policies to encourage and scale climate-smart ag practices.

The House Agriculture Committee also held a listening session in Washington. Dairy farmers and Northwest Dairy Association member-owners Jeremy Visser of Stanwood, Wa. and Jim Werkhoven of Monroe, Wa. in their remarks urged committee members to ensure that risk management tools work effectively for farmers of all sizes, and to provide robust funding for trade promotion programs like the Market Access Program.

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