According to our advocates at the National Farmers Union, Ohio’s own House Speaker John Boehner continues to be a fly in the ointment of ongoing Farm Bill conference committee negotiations.
Boehner, who as a member of the House served on the Ag Committee for several years, has described the U.S. Dairy Program as “Soviet-style,” which doesn’t leave a lot of room for compromise. His latest issue according to NFU and media sources revolves around proposed dairy price stabilization measures including dictating how much milk is produced. Supporters of greater price stabilization measures in the dairy industry say supply management is needed to forestall overproduction and price swings to the low end that would endanger the financial viability of dairy farmers. Boehner says that prices for all manner of dairy products are too high due to the Dairy Program and free market reforms are in order.
While Boehner and others propose a “burn the village to save it” mentality on dairy farming, what’s missing from their “reforms” is the very point of the Farm Bill – how do we afford some level of protection to farmers – especially independent producers – from price extremes in the market? There is U.S. commodity supply policy on other agricultural products, what makes dairy different?
NFU also reports that there could still be at least one public conference committee hearing on the Farm Bill featuring current hot button topics such as COOL. It remains important for independent, family farmers and consumers to let their members of Congress and senators know that there is strong support among their constituents for knowing the origin of their food.
While we reported in the last Ohio Country Messenger that the Farm Bill appeared to be heading toward compromise and completion, perhaps by mid-January, here we are with the Congress that can’t get things done. While most members are at home this week, leadership is expected to continue negotiations and there is a chance for a final conference report vote – and an end to the dysfunction – during the last week in January.
Robert Kettelkamp says
What does Boehner know or care about the dairy producer? My guess is that he is in the back pocket of the dairy processing/retailing industry…they want a cheap raw milk supply…think Kraft, Kroeger Food etc. Family dairy farmers have been struggling ever since politicians decided to force 1/2 of the corn into ethanol. I’m a dairy farmer and a republican, and I don’t see how a supply management tool that is self-financed by the producers can be called “Soviet Style”.