Dairy Industry Will Suffer until New Farm Bill Passed

Starting This January, USDA Reports Released at New Time

The U.S. Department of Agriculture sought public comment on release times for major statistical reports as a result of commodity exchanges changing market hours. USDA received 147 comments and announced earlier this week its National Agricultural Statistics Service and World Agricultural Outlook Board will release those reports at 12 p.m. Eastern beginning in January 2013. Alan Brugler with Brugler Marketing and Management:

“They give us three or four official reasons.”

Reports affected by the change include the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, Acreage, Crop Production, Grain Stocks, Prospective Plantings and Small Grains Summary. Livestock reports will not change.

Little Change in Food Insecurity Statistics

The good news is 85 percent of Americans have enough food to eat, and that number has changed little since 2008. The bad news is that 15 percent of Americans were food insecure at some time during 2011, and that number also has changed little since 2008.

Also, within the “food insecure” group, the number of those rated as having very low food security ticked up slightly from 2010 to 2011.
USDA’s Economic Research Service defines food insecurity as when household access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources.

New Farm Bill Remains Questionable

Now that Congress has dropped the ball on a farm bill – the question is what’s next for farm programs? Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says even without a farm law of some kind on the books after September 30th – USDA is not ready to revert to the default 1949 statute — universally seen as unworkable for modern agriculture…

“We will continue to use the tools we have, to the extent we can, but we are somewhat limited in the capacity to help. If this thing were to drag out for a considerable amount of time we run the risk of legislation that was passed in the 1940s being triggered, I don’t think we are there at this point.”

And while crop insurance – and even controversial direct payments – would continue for a time – Vilsack says some sectors – like dairy – would lose payments they need. Bigger picture – Vilsack says the lack of a farm bill creates uncertainty – making it more difficult for producers to plan for next year and get operating loans. Meantime – Vilsack charges House leaders want bigger changes in the farm bill than they would have gotten had they allowed the bill on the floor this month…

“I don’t think its simply issues involving nutrition assistance, I think the House has plans to cut and significantly reduce support for farm programs, conservation programs as well as the crop insurance title. I think this is one of the reasons why we are not seeing actions from leadership.”

House Speaker John Boehner said earlier he had problems with the ag committee farm bill including its new dairy provisions.

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