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NMPF: Senate Ag Committee hearing testimony highlights need for dairy safety net

NMPF: Senate Ag Committee hearing testimony highlights need for dairy safety net
Testimony presented by USDA chief economist Joe Glauber to a Senate Ag Committee hearing on the impact of the drought highlights the harm high feed costs are causing for the nation’s dairy farmers, according to Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). He said the testimony provided stark evidence Congress needed to pass a farm bill providing a workable new safety net for dairy producers.
“Glauber noted that feed costs make up 51% of expenses for dairy – the highest feed costs of any livestock commodity,” Kozak said. Glauber also noted that because of high feed costs, milk-feed ratios have remained near the low levels experienced during 2009.
“USDA’s analysis indicated that dairy will face continued tight margins in 2013, with net cash income expected to be lower in 2013 than last year for dairy farmers,” Kozak said. “Glauber also made this worrisome admission: ‘another year of below-trend yields and high (feed) prices would likely result in further liquidation’ of herds.”
“These factors make it all the more urgent for the Senate and the House Agriculture committees, along with the full Senate and House, to pass a five-year farm bill that provides our dairy producers the security and stability they need,” Kozak said. “We need the Dairy Security Act – with its margin insurance and market stabilization program – to help buffer against the income-sapping effects of the drought, and other factors affecting feed prices.”
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