Specter-Casey Bill Supporters Called to ActionOn February 16, 2011 by Ryan Dennis
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act, also known as Bill S1645 and the Specter-Casey Bill, expired several months ago on the congressional table. Proponents of the bill are looking for legislative support to get it re-introduced. LoriJayne M. Grahn and Tina Carlin, both farming wives, are calling on advocates to contact their representatives and senators. They have issued the following notice:
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Call or email your Senators and Representative immediately for this request. The following is our request to our Senators and Representatives.
THE FEDERAL MILK MARKETING IMPROVEMENT ACT
NEEDS OUR SUPPORT TO BE RE-INTRODUCED AS A BILL AND PASSED FOR OUR NATION’S DAIRY POLICY REFORM
Dear Senator/Representative ____________________,
In voicing our full need and support as farmers and consumers, we would request and appreciate your sponsorship and/or co-sponsorship for the re-introduction of The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly known as S1645) thus upon after its re-introduction we would also request and appreciate your vote for its passage into legislation.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act offers and consists of:
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) IS a solution to fix a broken pricing system that fails us over and over again, leaving us with welfare subsidies and programs that don’t work. The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) is a chance and answer to save our farms now and not later.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) WILL stabilize farm raw milk prices and WILL give all dairy producers the average national cost of production determined by the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The price would be adjusted quarterly.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) WILL create transparency and the S1645 bill eliminates any reference to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) for determining milk prices paid to dairy farmers. S1645 creates official transparency to report on import/export volume, milk displacement, and dollar value, and create accountability in the Federal Order amendment process. The crime of price manipulation and corruption have been proven that the CME is prone to this abuse.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) WILL balance milk production and supply as the bill mandates that the US Secretary of Agriculture must be sure that the imports of dairy products do not exceed the amount of dairy exports before he can use the inventory management program. In other words, dairy farmers will not be required to balance the national oversupply of milk if the displacement of US milk is caused by import increases; this includes imported Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC) and Casein. Under Bill S1645 importation of foreign dairy products will no longer be allowed to destroy dairy farmer raw milk prices.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) WILL provide a Supply Management program to be implemented only when dairy exports exceed dairy imports by both the amount of milk represented and by dollar value. Bill S1645 Supply Management first phase-would affect all dairy producers by reducing the Class II price by up to 50 percent on up to five percent of their production. US dairy farmers would always maintain at least a 95 percent national cost of production during this process. It would also give farmers a signal to hold production down as well. The intent of Bill 1645 is not to tell dairy farmers how much milk they can produce, however, overproduction and supply are addressed in the Inventory Management Program of S1645, that is necessary to prevent a small amount of milk forcing all milk down in price per hundredweight. Bill S1645 second phase-if necessary under which when the Secretary of Agriculture would announce a reduced price for producers who have increased production on all milk that is excess of the dairy producers preceding years production. The funds collected from the supply management assessment would be transferred to the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to be used to remove excess products from the market.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) WILL reduce government spending and help in reducing our national debt crisis.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) WILL be burden FREE from the tax payers as the bill will be funded by farmers where the cost is paid through supply management provisions. The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) cost would be minimal as it uses existing entities such as ERS, Market Administrators, Farm Service Agency (FSA), Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), where the required data is already being done, or could be done with little additional expense.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) IS a solution addressing the same roller coaster problems in the industry. Plus the MILC program or price support program, or tax payer dollars government spending.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) WILL be able to be implemented immediately as stand alone legislation upon being voted on and passed by Congress (both the Senate and House of Representatives) and will not require the Farm Bill to be reopened to be put into effect.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) WILL NOT interfere with existing federal and state marketing orders which remain intact and be responsible for determining the component value of milk.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) WILL protect the continuation of the Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMO) from being terminated by a negative vote during the referendum process.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) WILL eliminate Make Allowances, which are any cost of manufacturing plants, to be levied on dairy farmers.
This plan WILL NOT change regional differences except that all manufactured milk will be classified as Class II. The plan does not prevent states or groups of states from setting higher Class I prices. National average cost of production is easier to defend opposed to regional prices for manufactured milk that seemed to prove unworkable after intense discussion during the draft of this plan. However, fluid prices are more locally or regionally oriented and this would not change with this plan.
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645) is a solution to save our dairy farmers with a cost of production, provide a supply management program if needed, address the imports of Milk Protein Concentrates (MPC’s) that displace our US dairy farmer’s milk and creates an oversupply, plus threatens the safety and quality of our food supply, plus it is an ideal bill that will not affect our national debt or cost the taxpayers any money.
To make dairy farmers pay for insurance plans does not solve the problems and only allows a farmers debt to increase.
In conclusion, the farmer’s paycheck is what is left over after everyone else profits or takes their cost first. The roller coaster price system is destructive. Farmers have sacrificed everything and can’t recover their debtload or losses when the checks that they receive are always below cost of production. The corruption, consolidation, and corporate world has been able to control the dairy industry and it’s path. This needs to stop now. Other destructive policies and anti-trust abuses can not be tolerated and are not acceptable. Our country needs it farmers, and the health of our economy and rural America depends on them. US dairy farmers, consumers, and the dairy industry as a whole need The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Formerly S1645). This is a solution. NO MORE BANDAIDS. There is no excuse for anything less. Our dedicated, good family farmers who provide us with a quality fresh local food supply are going out of business and losing everything.
LoriJayne M. Grahn, Minnesota Dairy Farmer and Consumer, Pelican Rapids, Minnesota
Gerald Carlin, Pennsylvania Dairy Farmer, Consumer, and Co-author of The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act, Meshoppen, Pennsylvania
Tina Carlin, Pennsylvania Dairy Farm Wife and Consumer, Meshoppen, Pennsylvania