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Conner commends Senate Ag Committee on bill

Chuck Conner, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

Chuck Conner

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives President Chuck Conner, a former Agriculture deputy secretary and Senate Agriculture Committee staffer, issued a news release late last week commending the Senate Agriculture Committee for approving a farm bill, even if it is not perfect at this point.

“In my experience, even though every farm bill takes its own unique path to final enactment one fact of the process remains the same — it has to start somewhere, and the Senate Committee has taken that difficult first step,” Conner said in a news release issued late Thursday.

Conner also hinted that he thinks the commodity title will have to be changed.

“From a policy perspective, as the committee gets to work, members must ensure that any legislation contains a meaningful and equitable safety net for producers across commodity and across regions of the country,” Conner said.

For his group and its dairy co-op members, the dairy title as written is “a key element” in its agenda, he said.

“NCFC strenuously opposes any amendment, including the one offered by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., that would weaken the dairy provisions and which, if accepted, would cost dairy farmers more than $400 million in additional expenses.”

Dairy Farmers of America, a Kansas City-based co-op, and other dairy producer groups praised the committee for including the dairy title written by House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., while the International Dairy Foods Association, which represents the processors, expressed disappointment and praised Bennet for proposing an amendment even though he did not offer it in committee.