Changes in dairy safety net expected

Marc Heller in the Watertown Daily Times reports:

In the next few years, dairy farmers are likely to see big changes in the safety net that protects them from crashing milk prices — including a first-ever comprehensive system to limit milk production, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee said. Rep. Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., said he believes the past year’s deep decline in milk prices will result in momentum for fundamental changes in dairy policy when Congress considers the five-year farm bill in 2012, as long as farm groups can find common ground and opposition from milk processors can be kept to a minimum. Mr. Peterson outlined his expectations in an interview at his Capitol Hill office in which he also disputed widespread criticism that the dairy industry is plagued by price manipulation and discussed the role Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, may play on the committee, to which he was named two weeks ago. Mr. Peterson’s committee already has begun weekly field hearings on the farm bill, which have generated hundreds of comments from farmers around the country. The farm bill sets farm, food and nutrition programs, as well as rural development initiatives. Read the entire story in the Watertown Daily Times.

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