The dairy industry is divided over the supply management provision contained in the Dairy Security Act in both the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill.
Jerry Meissner is a dairy farmer in central Wisconsin and serves as president of the Dairy Business Association, he and a number of dairy producers from Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania and other states held a press conference at World Dairy Expo last Thursday to voice their support for the margin insurance provision of the plan but their opposition to the supply management provision. They are calling on producers to contact their Congressional representatives to urge their support for the Goodlatte-Scott Amendment to the Dairy Security Act (DSA) which would remove the supply management provision. Meissner clearly states, “We cannot live with supply management.” The group says had the DSA been in effect this year, it would have triggered in May and cost a 100-cow dairy $1,719, a 500-cow operation would have lost $8,596 and a 1,000-cow setup $17,191 for milk marketed in August.
Supporters of the potential production limit argue the government cannot sign a blank check by promising margin insurance without a cap on production. Meissner’s group point out the margin insurance is just like crop insurance and there is no cap on production for crops.
The DSA was put together over a three-year process by the National Milk Producers Federation, president and CEO Jerry Kozak says the Goodlatte-Scott Amendment would in effect cap milk output because it would insure only 80 percent of production over the life of the farm bill. He says the Goodlatte claims of savings for the taxpayer are misleading because it charges producers for protection above a certain level. Kozak also points out those attempts to change the Dairy Security Act were soundly defeated in both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and along with that, the Act was part of a farm bill soundly passed by the Senate.
Meissner and his group admit they face an uphill battle but they pledge to give the effort everything they can to change it.