To the Editor:
Officials of the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) delivered a letter on July 11 to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee in strong opposition to the Dairy Security Act.
The letter strongly opposes passage of the DSA as introduced by Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN). The letter that was delivered by NFFC contained the names of over 20 organizations as well as nearly 80 businesses from Pennsylvania and New York that oppose the Bill.
The letter urged the members of the House Ag Committee to consider the “Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act,” introduced in the Senate by Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr., (D-PA). This Bill contains a pricing formula that would cover the national average cost of producing milk. The Bill also provides a milk supply management program, if needed, which will be paid for by dairy farmers and not by the U.S. government.
It also contains a provision that monitors the imports of unneeded and unnecessary dairy products and dairy ingredients, which displace domestic milk production.
HR 6083 does not change the methodology of the current pricing formula used to price raw milk produced by dairy farmers. Even more important , HR 6083 calls for U.S. taxpayers to subsidize the cost of insurance programs that will supposedly cover some of the dairy farmers’ losses. HR 6083 also encourages dairy farmers to take out additional insurance to cover the broader losses.
It is asinine for anyone to think that the U.S. government should be subsidizing insurance policies and at the same time encouraging dairy farmers to take out additional coverage for the further financial losses that are anticipated under this proposal. We feel that there is plenty of room in the market to pay dairy farmers a fair price for their raw milk without taxpayer subsidies.
Several members of Pro Ag obtained at least 80 names of businesses that strongly support a new pricing formula that will cover the dairy farmers’ cost of production from the marketplace.
Donna Hall, a Pro Ag member from Muncy, Pa., who helped obtain the signatures of many of these businesses, said, “It was disheartening to hear the widespread financial suffering being experienced by these businesses who have faithfully provided supplies and services to their dairy farmer customers for so many years. When dairy farmers cannot pay their bills, then the farm services and supply businesses cannot operate financially, either.”
NFFC and Pro Ag are insisting that the House Ag Committee revisit the dairy provision in their current version of the 2012 Farm Bill.
I have advocated on behalf of fair prices for dairy farmers for decades, and I have seen a lot of outrageous dairy policies develop in Washington, but I have never witnessed a more destructive piece of legislation than what is contained in the Dairy Security Act of the current 2012 Farm Bill.
For more information call NFFC at 202- 543-5675 or Pro Ag at 570-833-5776.
Arden Tewksbury , Manager of Progressive Agriculture Organization, Meshoppen, Pa.