Lots of negative reacts in the news to the Bush administration’s proposed FY’07 budget that includes cuts in dairy support programs and a tax on milk production.
This widely-syndicated Associated Press article, for example, reported quotes from industry and congressional representatives about the plan.
“They’re coming at producers’ income at three different ways,” said Chris Galen, a spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation. “None of these alone is good news, and the package together is really going to be a problem. At first blush, it will set off some alarm bells.”
“This budget undercuts the dairy safety net and places a tax on our dairy farmers,” said Sen. Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican who sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee.
A story in the Rochester (NY) Democrat & Chronicle reports that lawmakers from dairy states vowed to fight the proposed tax, saying it would hurt small dairy farms such as those in upstate New York. Many of those farmers rely on a federal subsidy to survive when prices plummet.
In Ohio, the Dayton Daily News talked with local dairy producers who are upset over the proposals. “Time to call my congressman,” said Doug Krickenbarger, 45, another Preble County dairy farmer who milks 76 cows with his wife, Lisa, and son, Luke, in Lanier Twp. Krickenbarger figured the 3-cent assessment would cost the owner of a small dairy milking 40 to 50 cows $300 a year. “That’s a lot of money,” said Krickenbarger, who said his most recent milk check paid about $14 per hundredweight, barely enough to cover his expenses. “That’s insane. I can’t see that ever happening.”
In Vermont, the Burlington Free Press reports that the state’s congressional delegation will fight the proposed 3-cent-per-hundredweight tax. “While pressing for even more tax cuts to the wealthy, the president in his budget proposes a brand new tax increase on America’s dairy farmers,” said a joint statement by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., and Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. “This is a morally bankrupt plan to tax hardworking dairy farmers who are already suffering from escalating fuel costs and declining prices for their milk,” the statement said. “The administration’s proposal to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy on the backs of family dairy farmers is dead on arrival with us, and we will do all we can to make sure that Congress does not approve it.”
Meanwhile, the International Dairy Foods Association sent out a press release yesterday commending the President for his “pro-growth focus” in the budget. “We applaud the president’s leadership in calling for more restrained spending on dairy subsidy programs while managing for better results, investing in efforts to safeguard America’s food supply and providing full funding for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which serves the nutritional requirements of our neediest citizens,” said IDFA Senior Vice President Chip Kunde. “The president’s budget fine-tunes dairy programs by simply making the current dairy safety net scheme more fiscally responsible,” concluded Kunde.