Members approve ag policy positions at 2009 National Farmers Convention

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CORALVILLE, Iowa — National Farmers Organization members announced several ag policy positions at its annual farm business convention in Coralville, Iowa.

A proposal to help America’s hungry, and stimulate the farm economy, calls for funds originally earmarked for payments to millionaire farms, be used instead for the purchase of grain, meat and dairy products to help America’s less fortunate.

President Barack Obama has said he would like to cap farm program payments to individual producers at $250,000 annually.

Recommendation

National Farmers also recommends increasing commodity loan rates to levels closer to each commodity’s production costs.

That would provide lenders with more security to extend credit to producers for the next year.

The organization also called for a dairy farm stimulus fund, established to increase milk income loss payments for dairy producers.

“In February, producers can expect to receive $12.50 to $13, once the current MILC payment is factored in,” said National Farmers Dairy Division Director Brad Rach.

“We believe our farm stimulus proposal could be used to bolster MILC payments that would not only directly help dairy farmers but stimulate the ag economy,” Rach said.

Support

National Farmers members also support the following:

  • Doubling funds available to the Farm Service Agency for direct and guaranteed farm operating loans and make the funds transferable depending on demand.

  • Implementing Country of Origin Labeling fully, with enforcement. The group supports the extension of mandatory County of Origin Labeling to include dairy products.

  • Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act, which mandates trade pact reviews, established and uniform standards, protection of workers in developing nations and restoration of congressional oversight on future agreements.

  • Legislation that will add transparency to futures markets and closes the door to excessive speculation by tightening key investment laws and clarifying the oversight mission of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

  • Eliminating organic grower discrimination for crop insurance. Currently, organic crops producers are required to pay a 5 percent higher premium than their conventional counterparts. But, organic claims are only paid at the conventional rate.

    Milk producers

    As America’s milk producers focus on 2009 farm input prices for feed, fuel, electricity and hauling, the mailbox price they receive for their milk is falling.

    Since last summer the paychecks dairymen earn have fallen, in some cases by nearly 50 percent. And the forecast for 2009 isn’t good.

    “The milk price difference between Dec. ’08 and Jan. ’09 is alarming, and it’s expected to fall from $15.28 to just $10.75, a drop of $4.50,” said Rach.

    “We believe a dairy farm stimulus fund should be established to increase milk income loss payments for dairy producers.”

    Although production is up 1 percent over last year, Cooperatives Working Together will remove 61,000 of those cows, leaving just 25,000 more cows than last year.

    The numbers include:

    Dec. Class III — $15.28

    Jan. Class III — $10.75

    Feb. Class III –$10

    2009 Class III Average Futures Price — $12.08

    $1.07 — Block Cheese Cash Price

    $1.13 pound — Support Price for Block Cheese

    $1.07 pound — Barrel Cheese Cash Price

    $1.10 pound — Support Price for Barrel Cheese

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