Farmer group calls for immediate action to secure fair prices for family dairy producers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 15, 2021
Contact: Jordan Treakle, National Family Farm Coalition Policy Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-543-5675
Washington, DC — National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) applauds Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and the Senate Agriculture Committee for hearing from dairy farmers and regional processors about the ongoing dairy crisis and urges Congress to take immediate steps to stabilize farmer prices. Today’s hearing on “Milk Pricing: Areas for Improvement and Reform” revealed common themes of struggles with volatile prices, dairy industry consolidation, and the need for reform of an outdated industry structure.
NFFC Board President and retired Wisconsin dairy farmer Jim Goodman said, “We are grateful to Sen. Gillibrand for making space to listen to the challenges dairy farmers are facing today, and we are hopeful much-needed reforms will soon follow. For years, U.S. dairy farmers across the country have been forced to sell their cows and declare bankruptcy because milk prices are so low and unpredictable. If rural America is to have any hope of survival, Congress must provide immediate economic relief for dairy farmers and implement a supply management system to end low prices and curb excess supply.”
The hearing was convened by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Local Food Systems, and Food Safety and Security, with Sen. Gillibrand as Chair and Ranking Member Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS). Senators heard from three independent dairy farmers, representatives of two regional processors, and an agriculture economist. NFFC was one of several advocacy organizations asked to recommend speakers and was pleased that the panelists represented different regions and sectors of the dairy industry.
Given the unprecedented rate at which the U.S. is losing family farms, as was highlighted by multiple panelists, this hearing must lead to rapid action, with policy solutions that cannot wait until the next Farm Bill. NFFC calls on all members of Congress to show leadership for rural America by proposing meaningful, comprehensive, and systemic dairy policy reform to ensure no more dairy farmers, conventional or organic, lose their farms and livelihoods.
In the coming weeks, NFFC will introduce a new dairy policy proposal to ensure dairy farmers a fair price, guarantee a steady supply of safe and affordable dairy products, and revitalize rural areas through the presence of more independent family dairy farms to steward the land and livestock.