Farm Aid last week submitted a petition with 13,000 signatures to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling on secretary Tom Vilsack to take immediate action to stop the loss of dairy farms due to low milk prices.
According to Farm Aid and its supporters, dairy farmers are "financially bleeding to death." Low prices and high production costs for grains and agriculture equipment threaten to push nearly one-third of U.S. dairy farmers off their land over the next couple of months, Farm Aid said.
Farm Aid delivered the petition to Vilsack during a meeting urging him to use his authority to set a floor price for milk that reflects the cost of production, said Carolyn Mugar, executive director of Farm Aid.
Vilsack discussed improving dairy farmers' access to credit and mentioned steps taken by USDA in recent months to support dairy farmers, including providing Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) payments and activating the Dairy Export Incentive Program.
"Farm Aid applauds the recent work of the USDA to ensure that farmers have access to credit, but right now dairy farmers need more than credit - they need a fair price for milk, based on the cost of production," said Mugar.