WAMC News
6:20 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Senators Request Review of Dairy Pricing System

Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is joining his colleagues from Maine, New York and Minnesota in calling for a review of federal dairy price supports.

In a letter to the U.S. Agriculture Secretary, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders, Olympia Snow, Susan Collins, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and Al Franken request a review of the floor price for raw milk.  The letter notes that the cost of feed and grain has skyrocketed to historic levels while dairy farmers receive low prices for their product. Sanders’ Ag Policy Advisor Jenny Nelson says they want the Agriculture Secretary to investigate how dairy farmers can stay in business when their federal price for milk is set so low.

Nelson, who  is also a dairy farmer, says their feed ratio has fallen so low that most Northeastern dairy farmers are struggling to stay in business.

Agrimark Dairy Economist Bob Wellington says the cost of producing milk has never been higher.  But he says there’s not a lot the USDA can do to alleviate the problem.

The federal milk marketing order program, created in 1937, sets monthly minimum prices that milk handlers must pay, although producers may receive higher prices depending on market conditions.

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