The presidents of 12 farm bureaus in Northeastern states sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week, requesting an overhaul to the system that sets milk prices.
Signing on to the letter were the presidents of farm bureaus from New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, New Hampshire, Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.
"Farmers in all commodities are facing unprecedented challenges from the collapse of the global economy and weather conditions. The dairy industry in the Northeast is particularly hard-hit," the letter said, according to American Agriculturalist.
The U.S. Senate recently passed a bill authorizing the Farm Service Agency to receive an additional $350 million to raise the support price for nonfat dry milk from $.92 per pound to $.97 per pound; the floor for cheddar blocks from $1.31 to $1.40; and the price for cheddar barrels from $1.28 to $1.37.
The price farmers receive for their milk has fallen dramatically 41 percent over the past year to $11.30 per hundredweight. It costs farmers about $18 per hundredweight to produce milk.
Northeastern politicians have said the rural economies in those states face collapse, with a ripple effect on connected industries such as farm equipment dealers.