WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) today introduced two bills to help dairy farmers get a fair price for their milk and modernize the federal dairy program. The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act and the National Dairy Policy Reform Bill will help provide relief and assistance to Pennsylvania dairy farmers.
“Rapidly increasing energy costs and feed costs are driving dairy farmers to the brink,” said Casey. “They are struggling to make ends meet and their livelihoods are in jeopardy. These bills will help make sure that these dairy farmers don’t lose money and are able to keep their farms. I look forward to continuing to work Senator Specter on this important issue.”
“I am pleased to work with Senator Casey to establish a more stable and fair dairy pricing system for the farmers of Pennsylvania,” Specter said. “These two bills will address the increasing costs of milk production and help to protect our dairy producers’ crucial industry.”
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act strengthens producers’ prices and prohibits the charging of milk hauling and dairy processing costs from being charged to the dairy farmer. The bill ensures that dairy farmers can get full price for their cost of production for their milk. Currently farmers in Northeastern Pennsylvania lose approximately $5 for every pound of milk they produce.
The National Dairy Policy Reform Bill is a major overhaul of federal dairy policy, including:
Modernizing the dairy price support system which serves as the safety net for dairy farmers minimum price for their milk;
Creating an insurance program for dairy farmers similar to crop insurance programs provided for other farmers;
Establishing a link between the cost of feed for dairy cows and the federal trigger price for the Milk Target Program. This ultimately helps the farmers with the cost of production;
Creating a loan program to help young dairy farmers get started in the dairy industry;
Creating a permanent forward contracting program between dairy farmers and dairy processors;
Increasing the transparency of dairy markets.