Members of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), one of the founding groups of the Farm Bill Now coalition, were among the hundreds of farmers and lawmakers on Capitol Hill todayÂ urging Congress to pass a new farm bill before current one expires in less than three weeks.
One of them was NMPF First Vice Chairman Ken Nobis, a dairy farmer from St. John, Michigan, who told those assembled that politics shouldnâ€™t stand in the way of helping Americaâ€™s farmers.
â€œDairy farmers have worked with Democrats and Republicans, in the Senate and the House, to create a farm bill that saves taxpayers money, and at the same time offers dairy producers a more effective safety net when times are tough,â€ Nobis said. â€œIt would be a tragic mistake, after this bill has already passed the Senate, and the House Agriculture Committee, to let it wither and die on the political vine, rather than make the necessary effort to get it passed in the coming weeks.â€
NMPF officials say with just 10 days on the legislative calendar in the House, Congress can either quickly pass a new bill, let the old one expire and pass a new one in a lame duck session after the November elections, or pass a one-year extension of current farm programs. The group has already opposed the one-year extension option.
Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson agreed with the NMPFâ€™s opposition of the one-year extension. â€œThis is a very bad idea and an unnecessary idea,â€ he told the crowd gathered. Peterson pointed out the only place that an extension would have an effect before next May is in dairy, because the permanent law doesnâ€™t go into effect for dairy until January 1, 2013, and â€œat that point we have 38-dollar milk.â€ He urged attendees to call their lawmakers and push them to get a new bill passed now.
Source: World Dairy Diary