Long road to recovery

Written by Marjie Knust and Christine Bush
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DFA began its work on the current Farm Bill five years ago when then-chairman, the late Tom Camerlo, established a Price Stabilization Study Committee, which was tasked with focusing on long-term dairy policy reform that would reduce volatility and try to prevent such a severe down price cycle in the future. The committee developed the Dairy Growth Management Initiative, which contained proposals to address extreme volatility in the industry and provide tools to help producers in times of low margins. Many of those ideas were incorporated into the Margin Protection Program found in the current Farm Bill.

“While we didn’t get everything we wanted from Congress with the new Farm Bill, we are pleased that the general structure of the Margin Protection Program is similar to what dairy farmers proposed going back to 2009,” Wilson says.

For those who remain in the dairy business, things are looking up. In addition to improved policy, on-farm margins look to be positive for much of 2014.

“There is a tremendous amount of optimism on the price side, largely due to strong global demand, and feed costs are not showing significant signs of going up,” Wilson says. “Hopefully, this will be the long-awaited recovery period we’ve been waiting for.”