The measure includes provisions that allow cotton growers to apply for commodity price support programs including the Price Loss Coverage program, and removes a $20 million cap on the Livestock Gross margin program for dairy.
National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson supports the measure but says the changes for cotton and dairy programs should not come at the expense of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. “It is very disappointing that House appropriators provide significantly lower levels of assistance for dairy producers, who are struggling tremendously with low milk prices, market uncertainty, and a deeply flawed safety net program.” He says the proposal offsets part of the costs by initiating nutrition infrastructure reforms and farm bill programs should not be pitted against one another.
Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabebow, a Michigan democrat, has said in response she’s encouraged the House has recognized the need to support both dairy and cotton farmers, but the bill misses an important opportunity to repair the broken dairy safety net. An alternative proposal is expected to be included in the Senate’s fiscal 2018 ag appropriations bill.