Support shown for temporary extension of MILC program

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Support shown for temporary extension of MILC program

Thu, 10/31/2013

Thirteen senators encourage farm bill committee to provide bridge gap solution.

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

A potential extension to the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program could add some temporary security for dairy farmers. That’s the idea behind a bi-partisan letter signed by 13 U.S. Senators.

Last week, Senator Baldwin (D-Wis.) led a bipartisan effort with 12 other Senate colleagues encouraging members of the farm bill committee to extend the MILC program until a new dairy program is in place. Versions of a margin protection program are proposed in both the House and Senate farm bills. But, even if they can agree and pass the provision, it will take months before dairy farmers can enroll. The senators are aiming to lessen the risk for farmers should there be any dramatic price swings in the meantime.

Formal talks began on the farm bill this week now that the House appointed its conference committee of 17 Republicans and 12 Democrats. The House must iron out differences with the Senate, which appointed seven Democrats and five Republicans to its committee. Where dairy stabilization falls as priority remains an unknown. Neither Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) nor David Scott (D-Ga.), authors of the amendment to strip stabilization from the House bill, are on the committee.

The MILC program was included in last year’s farm bill extension; it expired in September along with other farm bill legislation. If no resolution is reached by the end of the year, 1940’s parity based milk pricing would take effect.

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The author is the special publications editor, responsible for books, plans, distribution of the e-newsletter and various internal communication pieces. She grew up on a 60-cow dairy in northwest Wisconsin, and is a graduate of University of Wisconsin–Madison with a degree in life sciences communications.

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