Thompson calls for 1st quarter farm bill passage, whole milk in schools

The House Ag Committee Chairman says he would like to have the farm bill finished by Valentine’s Day.

Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson says House leadership and available floor time will determine when there’s action on the bill.

“Just because we did an extension doesn’t mean we’re going to wait till the end of the year to do a farm bill,” he says.  “Quite frankly, this is an election year, that would be a disaster. I’m not sure we’d get it done, but this is why we have to get it done and my preference is to do it first quarter.”

During the American Dairy Coalition’s Annual Meeting, he told members the farm bill extension included benefits for farmers using the Dairy Margin Coverage Program.

“We were able to permanently incorporate supplemental dairy margin coverage production history into the farm bill program,” he explains.  “That is now law, providing producers certainty that additional production will be covered moving forward.”

Thompson said he believes the current dairy safety net is working well and he plans to make adjustments to help the program better reflect the size of farms today.

The Pennsylvania Republican says he’s also confident his Whole Milk for Healthy Kids bill could pass the full House this week.

“It’s a pretty straightforward bill, I don’t think it needs any amendments,” he says.  “I’ll be working hard to push back on… I haven’t seen all the amendments yet, but what I have seen are definitely ones that need to be defeated.”

Some public interest groups say the bill undermines the goals of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Thompson’s bill would allow schools to offer whole milk in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program which has been limited to only low-fat and fat-free milk since 2012.

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