Milk production continues to climb in the U.S.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The milk just keeps on coming. The latest production figures from the USDA show March milk output was 2% higher than a year ago across the country and 4% higher here in Wisconsin. Nationally production hit 18.8 billion pounds last month with production in Wisconsin reaching 2.72 billion pounds. The number of milk cows was up across the state and the country with production per cow nationally reaching 2,104 pounds per cow—19 pounds more than last March. In Wisconsin, production per cow climbed to 2,145 pounds—65 pounds per cow more than a year ago. California still produces the most milk with over 3.7 billion pounds in March. Ranking third in milk production is Idaho with New York and Texas not far behind.
Wisconsin U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is one of the lead sponsors on the re-introduction of the bi-partisan Dairy Pride Act. That bill calls for clear, accurate labeling information on food labels, ending harmful mis-information on products that call themselves dairy products but are not. The measure would require the Food and Drug Administration to enforce its own existing standards of identity on imitation dairy products—standards that have been on the books for many years.
A bigger and better Conservation Reserve Program has been announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Currently there are almost 21 million acres enrolled in CRP with a cap of 25 million acres. Vilsack wants to hit that cap and actually increase the program to 27 million acres by 2023. To do that he plans to increase rental rates and provide more flexibility in those rates to attract more sensitive land into the program. He also plans to increase payments for Practice Incentives from 20% to 50%, increase water quality practices from 10 to 20% and set-up a minimum rental rate for Grasslands. The revised plan would also increase NRCS technical assistance for CRP by $140 million. Vilsack said CRP is one of the world’s most successful conservation programs and it needs to continue to grow.
Meanwhile in the Senate, a bipartisan group of senators has again introduced the Growing Climate Solutions Act. That bill would set up a federal program to help farmers access carbon credit markets. More than 60 farm organizations are supporting the bill
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