Letter demands Congress
act for dairy farmers
In a letter delivered to Members of Congress this week, 42 organizations, led by the National Family Farm Coalition, and 149 businesses, which serve dairy farmers and rural communities, called on federal lawmakers to review the dairy policies that have contributed to the financial crisis experienced by the majority of dairy farmers across the United States.
"Federal dairy policies have been hammering dairy farmers for more than 30 years. There were 600,000 U.S. dairy farms in 1976, dropping to 131,509 by 1992, and to 51,481 by 2012.
"It is unthinkable that Congress continues to formulate policies that will likely be responsible for a continued decline in the number of U.S. dairy farms." The letter continued, "This crisis in not just affecting farmers and their families, but also the entire rural economy."
As their letter stated, "The federal milk pricing formula leaves dairy farmers unable to cover their basic cost of production, but equally important is the loss of a substantial number of support businesses that fold when dairy farmers are not paid enough to cover the bills they owe these service providers and suppliers."
The letter signers don't believe that either the House or Senate draft farm bills make these needed reforms and they urge lawmakers to "take swift action to implement equitable federal dairy policies based on fairness and cost of production in the dairy provision of the 2012 Farm Bill."