More than $500 billion is spent annually around the world on "often ineffective and trade-distorting support to farmers," says the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In an annual report, the OECD said, "little progress has been seen this decade in reforming agricultural support policies."
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday that enrollment is now open for the “new and improved” Dairy Margins Protection Program, a dairy insurance program run by USDA. The program has a poor reputation among many dairy farmers, who believe funds from an earlier iteration of the program were misallocated. No paywall
USDA announced Friday that it will likely establish a Federal Milk Marketing Order for the state of California. The agency will have a referendum for California dairy producers from April 2 to May 5, during which two-thirds of producers have to vote in favor of the FMMO for it to become official.
In preparation for the 2018 farm bill, the House Agriculture Committee unveiled a website that will serve as a central location for its activities on the panoramic legislation.
At the same hearing where he said President Trump promised not to cut crop insurance funding in 2018, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts confronted statements by Trump nominee Sam Clovis, questioning whether it was a valid federal function. "If there is some nominee coming before this committee who says crop insurance is unconstitutional, they might as well not show up," said Roberts, arguably the strongest congressional advocate of the risk management tool.
The dairy subsidy created in the 2014 farm law, the insurance-like Margin Protection Program, "is not working" but it can be retooled into an effective safety net, the head of the National Milk Producers Federation told the House Agriculture Committee. The changes would provide more assistance to producers during tough times, like the past couple of years, and potentially drive up costs to the government.