National Farmers Union convention delegates today adopted a special order of business calling on Congress and the administration to take all appropriate actions to sustain family dairy farmers through the current period of economic uncertainty. Delegates cited the unprecedented volatility of dairy market prices, from the peak in 2008 to the collapse to historic low levels, as the need for a comprehensive dairy policy that enables producers to continue producing.
"Dairy producers in this country are facing unprecedented obstacles to economic success," NFU President Tom Buis said. "NFU has long been calling for dairy policies that protect producers during economically difficult times. Today's dairy crisis provides an opportunity to policy makers to establish policies that will not only reverse today's dairy crisis, but ensure it is not repeated in the future."
NFU outlined several specific provisions that dairy policy should include in order to alleviate the burden of the economic downturn, including immediate release of Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) payments due to producers, availability of low-interest and emergency loans, establishment of a dairy price support program that accounts for the total cost of production, elimination of authority for dairy forward contracting and opposition to efforts that would prohibit producers from labeling milk as free of artificial growth hormones, along with many others.
"It is time dairy producers received a fair price from the market and that government policy does not allow for the current economic situation to happen again," Buis said.