Senate Ag Committee approves dairy title, Farm Bill draft
Federal dairy policy reforms with their roots in the National Milk Producers Federation’s Foundation for the Future program are headed for full U.S. Senate consideration.
On Thursday, April 26, the U.S. Senate Ag Committee approved the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, a bipartisan Farm Bill authored by U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), committee chair, and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), ranking member.
The Senate Ag Committee approved the bill on a 16-5 vote, sending it to the full Senate. Voting against the bill were Sens. Kristin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The committee approved two amendments to the dairy title, without making major changes to the bill. One, offered by Sens. Johanns (R-Neb.) and Casey (D-Pa.), authorizes a review of the Market Stabilization program at the end of the five-year farm bill lifespan. A second, offered by Sen. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), extends the MILC program through June 2013, at a reduced rate, so there is a safety net in place while the USDA implements the new dairy margin insurance program.
An amendment previously offered by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), which would have struck the Dairy Market Stabilization Program from the bill and and replaced it with a stand-alone dairy producer margin insurance program, was withdrawn. That left the dairy title portion of the bill similar to the Dairy Security Act, introduced in the House by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).
To view a copy of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, including the amendments that were accepted by the committee, visit the Senate Agriculture Committee website at http://www.ag.senate.gov/issues/farm-bill. A section-by-section summary of the bill is also available, as well as an archived webcast of the markup procedures.