Peterson, Thompson Push USDA on Farm Bill Dairy Program Implementation

March 29, 2019
Press Release

BELLEFONTE, Pa. – In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Thursday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) and Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Ranking Member Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-Pa.), and more than 70 Democratic and Republican House colleagues urged the Department to prioritize the implementation of dairy provisions included in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Citing the continued loss of dairy farms, and the deficiencies of previous programs, Peterson and Thompson noted that the 2018 bill can provide needed assistance to dairy farmers. “Provisions of the new farm bill, particularly the new Dairy Margin Coverage program, will provide much-needed help if they can reach dairy farmers quickly enough,” the letter states.

“Last year the average dairy farm in Minnesota earned $15,000—a third of what it earned in 2017. Given what’s facing dairy farmers, USDA needs to get a move on implementing these dairy programs as soon as possible,” Chairman Peterson said. “And I hope USDA will overcommunicate on what the new programs can do for farmers. Congress worked hard to include higher and more affordable coverage options so it’s important that there is outreach so that these folks see just what the new programs can do for them.”

“The 2018 farm bill provides dairy farmers with better risk management tools, improved coverage and more affordable options,” Rep. Thompson said. “USDA should fast-track these changes as times remain difficult and producers around the nation need more options. I thank Chairman Peterson for his leadership and commitment to reworking the dairy safety net in a bipartisan way.”

“Pennsylvania dairy farmers are entering a fifth consecutive year of depressed milk prices,” said Amanda Condo, of Paul Dotterer & Sons Inc., in Mill Hall, Clinton County. “As a dairy farmer myself, I’ve watched countless neighbors of mine close up shop in recent years during this challenging time.  Rep. GT Thompson has been an outstanding advocate for Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers through his work on the Agriculture Committee.  We look forward to working with him and his colleagues to quickly implement the new Dairy Margin Coverage program, which will provide important benefits to farmers here and around the country.”

The following Representatives joined Chairman Peterson and Rep. Thompson on the letter: Armstrong, Baird, Bergman, Blumenauer, Bost, Brindisi, Bustos, Carbajal, Cline, Collins of New York, Costa, Courtney, Cox, Craig, DeLauro, DelBene, Delgado, Duffy, Emmer, Fulcher, Gallagher, Garamendi, Gibbs, Gonzalez of Ohio, Graves of Missouri, Grothman, Hagedorn, Harder, Hartzler, Hayes, Higgins of New York, Huizenga, Johnson of South Dakota, Joyce, Katko, Kelly of Pennsylvania, Kind, King of Iowa, Kuster, LaMalfa, Larsen, Long, Luetkemeyer, Sean Patrick Maloney, Marshall, McGovern, McMorris Rodgers, Meuser, Mitchell, Moolenaar, Newhouse, O'Halleran, Panetta, Pocan, Reed, Schrader, Sensenbrenner, Shimkus, Simpson, Slotkin, Smith of Missouri, Smith of Nebraska, Smucker, Spanberger, Stauber, Stefanik, Stivers, Torres Small, Upton, Van Drew, Vela, Walberg, Walorski, Watkins, and Welch.

A full copy of the letter is available by clicking here.