All of agriculture had high hopes this week that we’d see significant movement on a farm bill, but it appears the legislation has hit another snag over a longstanding dispute on dairy policy. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said in an interview yesterday that the biggest sticking point at the moment “is the dairy policy.”
The Senate-passed bill has a new program offering farmers profit-margin insurance for dairy producers and would require producers who voluntarily enter the program agree to cut milk production if the price should fall below a set amount. Similar language passed in the House Agriculture Committee bill, with the strong support of House Agriculture Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), but was stripped from the version on the House floor via an amendment offered by Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) is a strong advocate for stripping the supply management language from the House bill and keeping it out of any conference report.
Speaker Boehner held a press conference Thursday and when asked about the dairy provisions within the farm bill, the Speaker said, “I am confident the conference report will not include supply management in the dairy program.”
Chairman Lucas said that the lead conferees have been working on a compromise that would satisfy both Boehner and Peterson but they are “just not there yet.”