While taking a shot at a do-nothing Congress, Peterson also had a warning for dairy producers content to stick with current government programs.

“There’s always a chance” of no changes to dairy programs. “In this environment, this Congress not getting anything done is a much surer bet than it getting anything done. But I don’t believe we can afford that.

“A lot of the conditions and signals showing up in 2008 before the collapse in 2009 are (now showing up) in 2011. There’s a lot of concern we’ll go back into a situation in 2012 like we had in 2009. We can’t afford that and the current program won’t be adequate. It won’t work.

“And I guarantee you: There will be no help from Congress if the dairy industry gets into trouble. We can’t even pass a Federal Emergency Management Agency bill.

“The groups that want a perfect solution and are holding out because they want this or that, they’re playing with fire. If they screw this up and keep (this legislation) from happening, then they’re on their own. When (the dairy industry) collapses – and it will at some point – there isn’t going to be any help in Congress and I’m not going to be too inclined to get excited about it. They’ll have brought it on themselves.

“So, this is their chance. We’re talking to the (dairy) groups that are outliers. There aren’t very many of them … and we’re trying to work with them.

“But I’ll say again: These folks are playing with fire. It’s very easy to make something not happen in this Congress. In my opinion, we can’t afford that. If people screw it up and (the legislation isn’t passed) it’s on their head. … They’d better be careful.”