U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today announced that the Senate’s 2018 Farm Bill includes significant improvements to dairy risk management tools for Wisconsin dairy farmers as they face difficult market conditions.
In a recent interview with Assistant Farm Director Jenna Lee, Senator Baldwin expressed the great need for better dairy risk management in the 2018 farm bill.
“Wisconsin’s dairy farmers are a key driver of our state’s economy but they are facing very challenging times. The Senate Farm Bill includes important reforms that will directly benefit Wisconsin dairy farmers and our rural communities,” said Senator Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. “I worked to make sure the Senate Farm Bill includes new and improved dairy risk coverage tools to provide much-needed relief for our dairy farmers and do right by them.”
“The bipartisan 2018 Senate Farm Bill includes new-and-improved support for dairy farmers who have struggled from tough economic times for too long,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. “Senator Baldwin’s tireless advocacy and leadership was crucial to securing this critical new investment for dairy.”
In the face of challenging dairy market conditions in Wisconsin and across the country, Senator Baldwin sent a letter to Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Stabenow urging them to protect the economic security of the nation’s dairy farmers and update and expand the dairy safety net in the 2018 Farm Bill to provide better risk management tools for family farmers.
Since 2014, prices have dropped by over a third and dairy farmers have faced these difficult market conditions without a reliable safety net. Senator Baldwin’s changes would fix problems with the old Dairy Margin Protection Program and provide a pathway to new, customizable insurance tools in the future.
Senator Baldwin’s reforms would:
- Respond to the costs farmers face—Updates choices for risk coverage that better reflect the costs farmers face to produce their milk.
- Increase Affordability—Lowers the costs for coverage, even on higher quality coverage. Small and medium farmers will get better coverage for a lower cost.
- Target Those Most in Need—Waives administrative fees for beginning, veteran, and underserved farmers.
- Builds on Farmer-Friendly Improvements—Ensures the dairy safety net is responsive to drops in prices and increases in feed costs, by triggering payments monthly. Allows farmers to make changes annually, rather than locking them in to a longer commitment.
- Allows for New Opportunities for Insurance—Continues important reforms made in the budget bill to allow for the development of new dairy insurance tools in the future, including the creation of customizable dairy risk management tools.