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Gillibrand seeks dairy ‘price floor’ to help farmers suffering from low milk prices

Posted 13 March 2018 at 3:59 pm

Press Release, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today announced new legislation, the Dairy Farm Sustainability Act, to create a new “price floor” for milk that would help New York’s dairy farmers continue operating while milk prices are historically low.

Gillibrand’s legislation would work in tandem with the Margin Protection Program (MPP) and would bring back effective provisions of older dairy programs to create a “price floor” for milk. The “price floor” would be set at $23.34 per hundredweight, and would adjust over time for inflation. Historically low milk prices are devastating New York’s dairy farming communities, and this legislation would improve the existing safety net to stabilize these farms during periods of very low milk prices.

“New York is blessed with more than 4,000 dairy farms, and even more hardworking men and women who wake up before the sun comes up every single day, to produce the milk we need to stay healthy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Historically low milk prices are creating a crisis for our farmers and dairy communities, and Congress needs to fix this problem now. My new bill, the Dairy Farm Sustainability Act guarantees a minimum price for dairy farmers, to ensure that our farmers don’t go bankrupt every time prices drop.”

When milk prices drop below the price floor, the Dairy Farm Sustainability Act would automatically trigger a payment to stabilize New York dairy farm operations. The current MPP program would continue to operate for dairy farmers’ milk prices when they are above the price floor, but during periods of very low milk prices, the Dairy Farm Sustainability Act would pay eligible farmers 45 percent of the difference between $23.34 per hundredweight and the current All Milk price. MPP-participating farms would be eligible for payments from the Dairy Farm Sustainability Act on up to the first 5 million pounds of production.

The Dairy Farm Sustainability Act would be included as a provision in the new five-year Farm Bill being drafted in the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee.

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