Farmers Union Pressing For Immediate Dairy Relief
USDA Announces Safety Net Assistance Due To Low Prices
As the dairy industry faces significant economic declines, National Farmers Union – with support from Rocky Mountain Farmers Union – has aggressively pushed for much needed federal relief. NFU, working with member of congress, advanced a request for immediate support for U.S. dairy farmers. In a letter sent to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Vilsack, 27 Senators and 34 Representatives requested that the agency use existing authority to shield dairy farmers from additional hardship while exercising caution to not stimulate overproduction.
The letter recognizes multiple challenges currently facing dairy producers. The main challenge is extremely low milk prices, which for many farmers is below their cost of production. Another challenge includes a program in the form of the Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) that passed in the 2014 Farm Bill, but which has not operated as intended.
“Our dairy farmers have been hit extremely hard by low farm milk prices that have resulted in sharply reduced incomes, which is placing our nation’s dairy industry in an extremely vulnerable position” the letter states.” “We encourage USDA to take any and all actions available in order to make an immediate market injection and offer financial assistance that will directly support U.S. dairy farmers equally.”
NFU is also set to begin meetings of the Emergency Dairy Committee as directed by delegates to the 2016 NFU national convention. The committee will utilize its member’s extensive knowledge on dairying, hear from Washington decision makers, and develop policies for the benefit of the organization’s struggling dairy producers.