Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative is urging federal lawmakers to adjust milk pricing policy to make the current system “fairer and more equitable” for dairy producers.
Headquartered in Green Bay, Edge is one of the largest dairy co-ops in the country with member farms across the Midwest. The organization yesterday rolled out its top policy priorities for 2023 as this year’s session of Congress begins.
With the previous federal farm bill from 2018 set to expire this year, lawmakers will be negotiating a new package of legislation that governs various aspects of agriculture including energy systems, academic research, environmental issues, farm loans and much more.
“Entering a farm bill year means it is critical to have dairy’s voice front and center,” Edge President Brody Stapel said in a statement. “Our members need action on milk pricing reform, updates to the Dairy Margin Coverage program and more flexible conservation practices.”
The organization says any milk pricing policy changes should take a regional approach “to accommodate geographic differences in milk markets.”
Stapel added other issues such as the labor shortage remain a challenge for dairy producers, urging lawmakers to find “better solutions” to this problem. Edge says farmers “need access to a practical agricultural workforce visa” to address critical workforce shortages.
The co-op argues that federal dairy policy should “serve all sizes and types of dairy farms,” helping them take advantage of sustainability programs and other forms of support. The group opposes any payment limitations and limits on program participation based on farm size.
Meanwhile, Edge also says any climate and conservation regulations affecting the industry should be “guided by farmers, grounded in science, driven by the market and sufficiently flexible to allow for innovation at the farm level.”
–By Alex Moe