When the cable and network news pundits analyzed the reasons for the defeat of the recent Farm Bill they generally focused on two amendments that persuaded twenty-some Democrats to change their vote on the full Farm Bill.
The first amendment would have allowed states to require that most adult SNAP recipients work 20 hours a week or participate in a work training program.
The second amendment would repeal the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP). This would do away with the price protection for dairy farmers.
Rep. Reed voted for both amendments. No one should be surprised that our congressman voted for the “Work For Food Stamps” bill since tying work to welfare is part of the Republican mantra. But many have wondered why Rep. Reed would support the amendment that would drop price protection.
In January, Rep. Reed met with dairy farmers in Westfield in Chautauqua County. The farmers warned Rep. Reed that the pricing system is being manipulated by the Dairy Processors, who want to keep the price low. They mentioned that the Processors were united and well organized. The Producers, being independent farmers, are loosely organized. In other words, the Processors have lobbyists and are able to donate as PACs to campaigns a lot easier than the farmers.
Reed gave the farmers hope by saying, “This is just the beginning of the conversation.” As a joke the farmers gave Reed a shovel to use to “shovel through political BS in Washington in order to accomplish reform to assist dairy farmers”.
Reed went back to Washington, and against the farmers’ wishes, voted for the DMSP amendment which was favored by the dairy processors (i.e. Dairy Business Association and Dairy Foods Association). Trade groups representing the farmers and co-ops (i.e. National Milk Producers Federation, Dairy Farmers of America) opposed the amendment.
Are we surprised that Rep. Reed sided with the Processors? He had an opportunity raise the Farmer’s security, but chose to increase the Processors’ profits. The farmers of the NY 23rd deserve better.
Rep. Reed should return the shovel.
- Farm bill hinges on dairy vote (jsonline.com)
- Trouble for Boehner, dairy prices? Guide to farm bill defeat (politics.blogs.foxnews.com)
- NMPF Lauds House Ag Committee Vote To Support Dairy Security Act (perishablenews.com)