Dairymen affirm top DPAC goal
|Pictured from left to right are Bernie Morrissey, DPAC founder; dairymen Dale Hoffman, Rob Barley, Alan Kozak and Dan Brandt and Dennis Wolff of Versant Strategies, the public relations firm that manages DPAC’s affairs, guided by the DPAC Board of Directors.|
By DIETER KRIEG
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Three Pennsylvania dairymen, and one from Ohio -- all of whom hold leadership positions with the Dairy Policy Action Coalition (DPAC) -- took time out of their schedule to affirm their solidarity for the Goodlatte-Scott amendment within pending dairy legislation. The amendment has become a top priority for DPAC because it allows for margin insurance for dairy producers without forcing them to accept supply management.
Speaking at a press briefing held here at the Pennsylvania Farm Show on January 11 were Rob Barley of Lancaster County, Dan Brandt of Lebanon County, Dale Hoffman of Potter County and Alan Kozak from Ohio. They each explained from their own individual point of view why dairy policy in the next Farm Bill is important to U.S. agriculture and to the future of dairy farms.
The Dairy Policy Action Coalition (DPAC) is a coalition of grassroots dairy producers actively participating, with a unified voice, on policies and issues affecting milk pricing.
“We are here today as dairy farmers to express our recommendations on much needed dairy policy reform in the next Farm Bill,” said Rob Barley, DPAC co-chairman and a partner in Star Rock Farms near Conestoga, Pa. “We hope this press event helps to bridge the information gap that currently exists between dairy farms and the decisions being made for us inside the beltway.”
Last year the Senate passed and the House introduced a Farm Bill that made significant changes to federal dairy policy – generally known as the Dairy Security Act (DSA). Language in those bills included the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP), which makes supply management mandatory if a farmer wants to participate in a margin insurance program.
Both bills contain language that makes supply management mandatory if a farmer wants to participate in a margin insurance program.
Barley said: “We need to work together to develop policy that will allow U.S. dairy farmers access to margin insurance, also grow their business in a free market and be a reliable supplier to the growing global population.”
DPAC believes that supply management is bad policy because it creates an artificial market and sends the wrong message to trading partners. Stand-alone margin insurance without supply controls as proposed in the Goodlatte/Scott Amendment would be an effective safety net for dairy farms and would save taxpayers $12 million when compared to the Senate version of the Farm Bill.
The dairy cliff received national attention as part of the discussion of the fiscal cliff when some suggested milk prices would go to 7 dollars a gallon if the Farm Bill was not reauthorized. Congress did a one year extension that removed the risk of the price increase happening.
“The dairy market stabilization program (DMSP) is a good example of the need to bridge the information gap between people inside the beltway writing dairy policy and people on the farm affected by it,” said Barley. “Supply management has no place in the future of U.S. agriculture.”
Offering his assessment of the Dairy Security Act and the margin insurance that’s coupled with mandatory supply management, Daniel Brandt, said: “I feel its a bad policy because it creates an artificial market and sends the wrong message for trading partners. Stand-alone margin insurance as proposed by the Goodlatte-Scott amendment is an effective safety net monetarily and saves the tax payers about $12 million per year when you compare it to the Senate version of the Farm Bill. The Goodlatte-Scott ammendment offers the benefits of margin insurance without requiring us producers to reduce our production as much as 8%.
Alan Kozak, from Ohio, said: “We can’t just turn milk on and off like you can turn a faucet. So, Goodlatte-Scott legislation would be a very good alternative because we would have some sort of margin protection that’s not insurance of profit but an insurance against economic castrophe at the farm level.”
Dale Hoffman concluded by saying: “The main thing here of what we’re talking about is supply management. We can’t have it and it wont work on our farms or in the United States. We can’t be the ones with supply management because with it, we give up all of the jobs here in America. We don’t want to see that happen in the dairy industry. We have to fight for this and that is why we are standing up here.”