Twenty U.S. Senators, all Democrats, from 14 states have called on USDA to immediately and substantially increase the dairy price support level.
"During January through April this year, the U.S. all-milk price has averaged $4.80/cwt below the U.S. average cost of production. And in the months since, dairy farmers have continued to lose significant equity,” write the Senators in a letter dated July 15 and sent to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
"A meaningful, but temporary increase in the Dairy Price support program will begin to restore farm level prices and help restore producers' ability to produce basic cash flow for their operations during these difficult financial times.”
The Senators note that although specific dairy price support levels were included in the 2008 Farm Bill, "Congress clearly gave the Department the authority to increase the purchase prices if necessary.”
The letter was signed by Senators Patrick Leahy, Vt.; Herb Kohl, Wis.; Russ Feingold, Wis.; Bernie Sanders, Vt.; Charles Schumer, N.Y.; Jeanne Shaheen, N.H.; Patty Murray, Wash.; Tim Johnson, S.D.; Carl Levin, Mich.; Robert Casey, Pa.; Arlen Specter, Pa.; Kristen Gillibrand, N.Y.; Barbara Boxer, Calif.; Bill Nelson, Fla.; Chris Dodd, Conn.; Amy Klobuchar, Minn.; Debbie Stabenow, Mich.; Jack Reed, R.I.; Tom Udall, N.M., and Al Franken, Minn.