Secretary Perdue Statement on Reopening the Federal Government
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement in response to President Donald J. Trump’s announcement of reopening the federal government:
“President Trump’s announcement of the reopening of the federal government is welcome news, as it will bring thousands of our employees back to work and return us to our mission of providing our customers with the services they rely upon. I extend my sincere thanks to the thousands of USDA workers who stayed on the job during the shutdown to offer as many of our normal activities as we could. The President has already signed legislation that guarantees backpay for all employees, and we will move forward on that as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we will prepare for a smooth reestablishment of USDA functions.
“There will now be sufficient time for Congress to come to an agreement with the President on his pledge to protect our national security by securing our southern border with a reliable, effective barrier.”
Farm Bureau Looks Forward to Government Reopening
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall made the following comments:
“We are encouraged that the federal government will be re-opened for three weeks while Congress and the administration work on a permanent budget solution. At our annual meeting last week, our delegate body from 50 states and Puerto Rico called on President Trump, Speaker Pelosi and all leadership to move quickly to put this shutdown behind us. Farmers have crops to plant, animals to raise and food to sell. We need the Agriculture Department and the rest of the federal government up and running to do the job the American people need us to do.
“We also want to express our great appreciation to the thousands of federal employees at USDA and other agencies who put in long hours without pay these last several weeks to ensure our country was protected and that the services farmers and ranchers depend on remained available.”
Source: American Farm Bureau Federation
NMPF Calls for Fast Farm Bill Implementation as Government Reopens
With the federal government poised to reopen for three weeks after a 35-day partial shutdown that delayed implementation of the 2018 farm bill, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging quick implementation of the law’s dairy provisions.
“Dairy farmers have just completed a fourth consecutive year of depressed milk prices and are facing an uncertain outlook for 2019,” wrote Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We believe that the significant dairy policy reforms we worked successfully with Congress to enact in the new farm bill will be critically important to helping farmers better manage difficult periods of low margins.”
Implementation of the law, passed in December, has been slowed by the recent shutdown. Dairy programs should be fast-tracked because of the nature of farm bill reforms, NMPF said.
“Because the dairy provisions of the law simply modify the pre-existing margin program, it is clear from Congress’ direction that USDA can move forward to enact the new provisions without conducting a formal rulemaking process,” Mulhern wrote. “We encourage you to utilize this flexibility to help add momentum to the process, especially in light of the fact that the government shutdown has delayed the department’s ability to proceed.”
NMPF looks forward to working with USDA on a farmer-friendly sign-up process that gives producers time to understand their options, with quickly updated online tools to streamline the process. The new farm bill includes several critical provisions important to dairy. The new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program offers much more affordable and higher coverage levels than previous initiatives, with all dairy producers able to insure margins up to $9.50/cwt. on their Tier I (first 5 million pounds) production history. The DMC also offers lower-cost $5.00 margin coverage, a higher level of affordable catastrophic protection for operations wishing to cover more than 5 million pounds of production.