Fair Distribution of Federal Dairy Relief Urged

US – California Senator Dianne Feinstein yesterday led a bipartisan coalition of seven other Senators and 16 Representatives from states with the largest dairies in urging Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to fairly distribute $350 million in federal dairy relief and avoid regional bias.
calendar icon 9 October 2009
clock icon 1 minute read

As a result of low dairy prices, Western dairy farmers are losing up to $100,000 in revenues per month.

The conference report for the Fiscal Year 2010 Agriculture appropriations bill includes $350 million in relief for struggling dairy farmers.

This provision sets aside $290 million that will likely go towards a market loss program that distributes cash payments directly to dairy farmers in times of hardship. Previously, the program of direct payments used by Department of Agriculture disproportionally benefited farmers in other regions in the country. However, the report’s provision allows for the payments to be distributed on a more equitable basis.

The remaining $60 million in aid has been set aside to purchase surplus dairy products, and the group of Senators and Representatives have asked Secretary Vilsack to ensure that these funds be used specifically to purchase cheese.

Experts have indicated that reducing the record cheese surplus is one of the simplest steps to increase the price of milk, and bring relief to dairy farmers.

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