The U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment this week to extend the Milk Income Loss Contract program through 2007. National Farmers Union wrote a letter to House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders urging their support of the amendment offered by Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., that would close the gap in the MILC program.
"At a time when milk prices are plummeting, attempts to strike the Obey amendment from the FY2007 agriculture appropriations bill should be defeated so the dairy baseline is not eliminated for the next farm bill," NFU President Tom Buis says. "Furthermore, Congress ought to be restoring the safety net to its original level as set in the 2002 Farm Bill, to protect the nation's dairy producers against quickly tumbling market prices."
NFU maintains that an economically healthy dairy industry is vital to the economies of our rural communities.
"Stable milk prices are essential to not only the economic viability of the American dairy industry, but also for an adequate supply of fresh fluid milk for the millions of consumers across the country," Buis says.
NFU has been a long-time supporter of the MILC program, which has proven essential to keeping many family dairy farmers afloat during periods of record low prices. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2006 included an extension of the program, but budget gimmicks left a gap in funding by ending MILC payments on August 31, 2007, one month before the farm bill is set to expire, thereby risking the dairy economic safety net for future agriculture policy.