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ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for completing congressional approval of a new farm bill and sending to the White House a law that will provide important economic assistance to dairy producers in times of need. NMPF urged President Donald Trump to immediately sign the bill.

“The farm bill passed by the full Congress represents a truly bipartisan spirit and offers genuine hope for agriculture,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “The dairy provisions adopted by Congress will bring critically important assistance to the nation’s dairy farmers. The sooner the president signs the bill, the sooner that the Agriculture Department can implement these important policy improvements.”

The farm bill’s adoption by the House follows yesterday’s Senate vote of approval and reflects months of work in both chambers.

Among House members, Reps. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), the chairman and ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, worked tirelessly to reach a final agreement. In addition, NMPF thanked several members of the conference committee who advocated strongly for dairy, including Vice Chairman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), and Tim Walz (D-MN). NMPF also appreciates the advocacy of Reps. David Valadao (R-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Joe Courtney (D-CT), John Faso (R-NY), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Mike Simpson (R-ID), and Mike Bost (R-IL) on specific provisions included in the bill.

The farm bill features several important policy reforms for dairy, including:

Affordable higher coverage levels in the Dairy Margin Coverage program (DMC) (renamed from the Margin Protection Program) will permit all dairy producers to insure margins above $8.00 on their Tier I (first five million pounds) production history.

The bill will reduce the cost of $5.00 margin coverage by roughly 88 percent. This aids larger producers and is critically important in times of catastrophically low milk prices.

Greater flexibility to allow producers of all sizes to access Tier I premium rates.

Expanded access to additional risk management tools, allowing producers to participate in both the DMC and the Livestock Gross Margin insurance program.

An option that will allow producers to receive a 25-percent discount on their premiums if they lock in their coverage level for the entirety of the bill.

Collaborative work across the dairy sector was instrumental in securing this year’s pro-dairy bill, Mulhern said. NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) forged an unprecedented industry consensus during discussions of the bill dating to last year. The final bill includes an agreement reached between the two organizations on risk management that will help producers, cooperatives and processors to better hedge price risk.

“IDFA worked closely with colleagues at NMPF to unite behind shared solutions for dairy,” said Michael Dykes, DVM, president and CEO of IDFA. “Members of Congress have called our collaborative efforts historic, refreshing and, best of all, exceedingly helpful to their farm bill efforts. The dairy provisions included in the bill represent the positive outcomes we can gain through sustained industry collaboration.”

“Dairy works best when it works together,” Mulhern said. “Congress noticed. Hard work and cooperation among NMPF, IDFA, member co-ops, state associations and the entire dairy community helped craft a bill that will benefit us all.”

For more details on the new law’s benefits to dairy, see this letter (http://www.nmpf.org/files/files/NMPF%20Support%20Letter%20on%202018%20Farm%20Bill%20Conference%20Report.pdf) sent to Congress by NMPF urging the farm bill’s adoption.

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