Senator seeks quick cash for struggling dairy farmers

Leslie Hanson
May 17, 2018

"Dairy farms are at the heart of New York's rural economy, but milk prices are so low that more than 1,200 dairy farms have shut down in just the last decade, and many more are on the brink of failing". This, Gillibrand said, is unacceptable and must be rectified. The historically low dairy prices are translating to increased debt and Senator Gillibrand says it's also leading to more farm closures.

New York Farm Bureau will evaluate her proposal, spokesman Steve Ammerman said. She is calling on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to release emergency funding to dairy farms. According to the Federal Milk Order, farmers' milk in the Northeast received an average statistical uniform price of $15.46 per hundredweight in April, down from the $17.44 per hundredweight average price for past year and the $15.90 per hundredweight average price in 2016.

Dairy farmers are in the fourth year of depressed prices after the line came crashing down in the wake of what experts called "a flawless storm" that led to record-high milk prices in 2014. "Every dollar of on-farm milk sale generates $2.29 in the local economy, and for every full-time worker on a dairy farm, another 1.5 jobs are created in other parts of the food industry". Gillibrand said. "I've heard stories of depression and suicide among our dairy farmers, and it outrages me".

Sen. Gillibrand said the funding would replicate a similar allocation Mr.

Perdue, a former governor of Georgia, visited Kings-Ransom Farm in Saratoga County in November for a round-table discussion with area farmers.

"The USDA should do the right thing and give our dairy farmers the help they need now", Gillibrand concluded. "The cotton industry is literally 10 percent of the dairy industry in terms of size".

Gillibrand said that would average out to about $8,000 per farmer in New York State.

The $8,000 allocation would provide an average farmer 16 cents per hundredweight in relief, but Mr. Gendebien, who serves on Agri-Mark's board of directors, said farmers earn $3 to $4 per hundredweight below the cost of production. The National Farmers Union notes that financial risk, volatile markets, unpredictable weather, social isolation and heavy workloads have put a significant strain on farmers and ranchers.

U.S. Senator for New York Kirsten Gillibrand is continuing her fight for struggling dairy farmers statewide.

The senator's office also said in a background statement that she asked Mr.

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson on Wednesday joined with other Midwest Farm Bureau leaders in urging the Trump administration to end the escalation of trade disputes with China that threaten USA agricultural export opportunities.

"If we lose those (existing) relations, anything we do to the MPP and Federal Milk Order will pale in comparison", he said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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