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David Sparks Ph.d 2-17 NWR MMP
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Northwest Report
Date: February 17, 2017

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This is your Northwest report for Friday, February 17, I’m David Sparks, and Northwest dairy producers will be interested to know that during an approximately 2 1/2 hour House Ag Committee hearing on Wednesday, at least half of it was on the subject of dairy. Special attention was paid to the Dairy Margin Protection program: “the 2016 MPP experience left many dairy farmers disenchanted.” University of Missouri extension economist Dr. Scott Brown says the farmers were not happy because the program cost more to enroll that it paid. Crafters of the program were also disenchanted because of the very low farmer participation in it. Lawmakers asked Dr. Brown about ways they might improve the program in the next farm bill, perhaps lowering farmer premiums, but Brown says, "I have found dairy producers very disinterested in making payments for premiums and getting nothing in return and so I am not sure that lowering premiums generates a lot of additional anticipation in the program.” But he says it couldn't hurt to try it but it would also cause problems if the MPP gave too much help to dairy operators: "it's a tight rope we have to walk between providing a safety net without it becoming too lucrative.” And then causing a huge production increase.

Elsewhere, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway said at a hearing yesterday kicking off the 2018 farm bill process that the next farm bill needs to provide an adequate safety net for farmers, whose income has fallen because of lower commodity prices.

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