copyright the Chronicle February 5, 2014
by Bethany M. Dunbar
The federal farm bill passed the U.S. Senate Tuesday, 68 to 32.
The bill includes a key provision for dairy farmers, called a Margin Protection Plan. Similar to crop insurance, it allows farmers to buy into a plan that will protect their prices should the federal milk price normally paid to them drop, or should their production costs rise dramatically.
A statement from U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy says the hoped-for supply management plan that was in the Senate version of the bill was stripped out. But as a member of the conference committee, Senator Leahy was able to make a change that will help smaller dairy farmers more than large corporate farms.
Small farms will be able to enroll at lower rates and get higher protection, the statement explains.