Will the farm bill give dairy farmers an updated pricing structure?

A dairy economist and policy specialist is optimistic Federal Milk Marketing Orders will be updated but says it remains to be seen what route will be taken.

“My guess is that policymakers and the industry are going to take a harder look a whether the current set of policies reflects market realities.”

Cornell University’s Chris Wolf recently testified before Congress about needed changes to milk pricing formulas under the orders which haven’t been significantly updated in two decades.

“When we put this in place, we really were not a major exporter at all,” he says.  “We were talking maybe four percent of the milk exported and now we’re 18, and then we’ve had a lot of other changes both regional and structural.”

Wolf tells Brownfield updates need to be made by Congress which could take the traditional hearing process, or potentially be tied to the next farm bill.

“But it’s likely something will be done,” he expects.

Wolf says as milk production growth has shifted to where there is processing and feed availability, regional politics might get in the way of a timely solution.

Brownfield interviewed Wolf during the recent Michigan Ag Credit Conference.

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