Dairy price hike to help Vermont farmers

first_imgThe US Department of Agriculture has lifted the floor price for dairy products, it was announced today. The decision comes two days after the Vermont senators and a coalition of more than two dozen senators from other dairy states met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The prices will rise from $1.13 per pound for block cheese to $1.31; barrel cheese, from $1.10/lb. to $1.28; nonfat dry milk powder, from $0.80/lb. to $0.92. This has the potential to increase the price paid to farmers for milk by $1.25 to $1.50 per hundredweight.The meeting and the multi-region coalition of senators were organized by Senator Leahy, the senior-most member of the Agriculture Committee, to seek a short-term hike in the price the federal government pays for milk and dairy products in the marketplace.  Leahy and the coalition also followed through with an appeal to White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.Leahy said, Secretary Vilsack became our partner in getting this done, and we are grateful that dairy farmers have a true ally at USDA.  Government dairy purchases are part of the overall safety net, but in this case we also want these purchases to be a catalyst to help stabilize the downward spiral in milk prices.  Dairy farms in Vermont and across the nation are hurting, and this is the fastest and most direct short-term step that s available to stop the bleeding.  We will continue to push for other relief but those steps will take longer.Senator Sanders said, I appreciate the secretary’s quick response to our request. This is a good start but much more needs to be done if Vermont dairy farmers are going to receive a fair price for their product. My office continues to look at all available options to raise milk prices for family-based dairy farms, including expanding the MILC program and investigating monopolistic practices in the dairy industry.Governor Douglas said, We are incredibly pleased that Secretary Vilsack has raised the dairy support prices. This is a first and important step to relieve some of the financial stress Vermont dairy farmers and dairy farmers across the nation are experiencing. I want to thank our Congressional Delegation for their work on this important issue.”Vermont Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee said, We have all been working hard to encourage USDA to raise dairy support prices to bring some immediate relief to dairy farmers. I want to commend our Congressional Delegation for acknowledging the severity of the crisis and working with Secretary Vilsack to make this happen quickly.Under the Dairy Product Price Support Program, the USDA serves as a buyer of last resort to help clear commodity dairy markets during periods of exceptionally low farm-level prices. A coalition of Northeast governors and agriculture officials, including Governor Douglas and Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee, have been working together to find ways to bring immediate help to dairy farmers. This is a very complex and difficult challenge for agriculture in Vermont.  While we are going to continue to do all we can to support struggling farmers in this time of need, action at the federal level is necessary in order to achieve lasting solutions, said Governor Douglas.  The progress made on these dairy issues is the culmination of more than six months of work between my office, the Agency of Agriculture led by Secretary Allbee and the entire Vermont Congressional Delegation, who have been working diligently to bring these issues to Washington on behalf of Vermont s dairy farmers.Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who also had urged the Administration to raise the dairy price floor, said, Secretary Vilsack s decision is good news for dairy farmers and good news for Vermont. While it s clear that this is a short-term remedy and not a long-term solution to the crisis facing the dairy industry, this much-needed support for family farmers will help them weather the storm. I applaud Secretary Vilsack s action and I look forward to continuing the fight for Vermont s dairy farmers.Source: Vermont congressional delegation. Governor Douglas’ office. July 31, 2009.# # # # #last_img

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