August 4, 2017

Cap on Dairy Payments May Be Raised in Next Farm Bill

 |  By: Mike Opperman

The $20 million cap on funds paid out to livestock producers through government programs could be raised in the next Farm Bill, according to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. His comments came Thursday at an event at the Wisconsin State Fair, the first stop of his “Back to Our Roots” RV tour.

“Separating milk from the livestock in its $20 million cap as a possible solution to use milk as a commodity that is insurable from a risk management perspective rather than limiting it to the livestock cap,” Perdue says. Currently the maximum insurance premiums that can be paid out to livestock producers is $20 million, a significantly lower amount that can be paid out to producers participating in crop insurance programs. Critics point out that the lower benefits paid to livestock producers are unfair given the significant amount livestock producers contribute to the farming economy.

Perdue recognized that the current Margin Protection Program (MPP) is inadequate and “has not shown to be beneficial as a price protection program at its current levels.” A proper safety net is in order, according to Perdue.

“We want a safety net for producers that lets them respond to the market, not the Farm Bill. I don’t want people farming for the Farm Bill, I want them farming for the market,” he says. “[Producers should} have the flexibility to make those decisions that make the best sense for their operation rather than trying to comply with some arcane rules and regulations that we put in the Farm Bill in order to help their bottom lines.”