National dairy leader says U.S. dairies are approaching a crisis comparable to or worse than 2009.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) is asking members of Congress, as they return home for the August congressional recess, to meet with struggling dairy farmers in their districts to discuss the perilous economic conditions affecting farmers, and the urgent need for Congress to pass a new farm bill yet in 2012.
“NMPF believes this type of one-on-one dialogue will enable members in both the House and the Senate to see firsthand the need for passing a five-year farm bill, including the vital reforms to the nation’s dairy policy in the form of the Dairy Security Act (DSA),” said NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak.
“We hope that Members of Congress will take time to visit local dairy farms to experience up-close the challenges dairy farmers are facing and understand why it is so imperative to pass a five-year farm bill which includes a better safety net for farmers,” Kozak said. “We are approaching a crisis comparable to or worse than that of 2009, when dairy farmers lost $20 billion in equity and thousands of farmers went out of business.
“When you factor in additional operating costs, such as labor and energy costs, on top of the sky-high price of feed caused by the ongoing drought, dairy farmers are currently selling their milk for far less than the cost of production,” added Kozak. “The Dairy Security Act would give producers and their bankers the assurances they need to continue their operations through these tough times.”
Kozak said that farmers themselves should take this message to their elected officials during the next four weeks, with the hope that Congress can be spurred to action after Labor Day.
“We applaud the pledge from Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), and Ranking Members Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), to continue their push for full passage of a comprehensive, five-year farm bill after the August recess,” he said. “NMPF will continue to stand behind our agricultural leaders in this effort to pass a five-year farm bill this year.”