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Dairy Still Part of Farm Bill Hang-up

January 23, 2014
 
 

In a 13-minute conversation with Farm Journal Media’s Pam Fretwell, Vilsack says Senate/House farm bill conferees are still working out the details in the dairy program.

The dairy program, along with country-of-origin labeling (COOL) and the size of farms that qualify for government payments, are the three remaining issues holding up the farm bill, says Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

In a 13-minute conversation with Pam Fretwell on Farm Journal radio, Vilsack says Senate/House farm bill conferees are still working out the details in the dairy program. You can listen to the segment here

In particular, Senate/House farm conferees are struggling to find ways to support small- and medium-sized dairy producers. Note: Last week, the National Milk Producers Federation conceded that a standby supply management program was no longer in the policy mix.

Food stamps, says Vilsack, are no longer the major hang-up they once were. There seems to be agreement among Senate/House conferees that policy should drive the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and let the expenditures fall where they will, he says.

Vilsack was also asked as what point he will move toward enforcing permanent farm law now that the old farm act has expired. He said that as long as Senate/House conferees are making progress, he is directing USDA staff to work on ways to implement the new farm bill quickly.

If that progress stops, Vilsack says he’ll move toward enforcing permanent law. "I don’t want it to happen, and I don’t think it has to happen," he says. 

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