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Senators urge USDA to help dairy farmers

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Milk prices have fallen sharply over the last few months
Milk prices have fallen sharply over the last few months

A group of more than two dozen U.S. senators is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to step in and help dairy farmers in the "crisis" of falling milk prices.

In a letter to new USDA secretary Tom Vilsack, the senators urged the department to ease the burden on dairy farmers across the country.

"Since last summer our domestic dairy industry has been grappling with a serious imbalance which threatens the stability and future of American dairy farmers," the letter reads. "Falling domestic prices combined with relatively high input costs have put an extraordinary strain on the entire dairy sector."

The group recommends that the USDA consider additional dairy purchases as well as look into ways to better utilize the Dairy Export Incentive Program.

Some in the industry say that unless something is quickly done, many U.S. dairy farmers will not be able to survive with the recent drop in prices.

"Given the suddenness and severity of the plunge in farm-level milk prices, a significant number of farmers won't survive the winter with the prices they're receiving," said the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) president Jerry Kozak.ADNFCR-2034-ID-19019128-ADNFCR

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