Dairy leaders and farm dairy farm advocate groups are pressuring the Senate to remove controversial supply limits from the upcoming farm bill, a move, they claim, that would hurt farms and raise the price of milk nationwide.
For the past few years, dairy farms across the country have been in a state of financial flux. New York dairy farms in particular have been hit hard by the economic downturn. Facing low prices and rising costs, many dairy farmers have left the industry, leading to a steep drop in the number of dairy farms in New York and in other states.
One of the proposed solutions to this problem has been supply control mechanisms. Fluctuating prices, some politicians have argued, are caused by inconsistent supply and over production. Supply control mechanisms would limit these fluctuations and keep dairy prices at stable and consistent levels.
Dairy industry leaders, however, disagree that this level of control is possible without hurting consumers and hurting the industry as a whole. According to Miriam Brown, the CEO of Anderson Erickson Dairy, “This proposed plan will create a chain of events which will limit the milk supply for dairies like AE and result in higher milk prices for consumers,” she said. “Last year, milk prices increased nationally on average by 11 percent, driving consumers to purchase fewer gallons of milk. A gallon of milk is the foundation for most dairies like ours.”
The dairy industry is pushing for safety net programs like revenue protection, similar to programs used in commodity production, to replace supply controls, protecting dairy farmers from low prices while simultaneously keeping prices low for consumers.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer