U.S. dairy producers are facing the business-crippling burden of multi-year price lows. Milk prices have dropped by more than 40 percent in the past two years, and the Dairy Margin Protection Program (DMPP) has not provided the safety net needed to cope with this decline. As a result, additional avenues for direct assistance must be explored to help struggling dairy farmers.
National Farmers Union
(NFU) put together an emergency dairy committee in July to address shortcomings of the DMPP and work with Congress and the USDA to propose meaningful adjustments to the dairy farm safety net.
Last month, NFU asked Congress to allow the USDA to either respond to the crisis through price support activities or to refund 2015 DMPP premiums, which totaled $73 million. And in October, several lawmakers offered their support, echoing NFU’s request for Congress to provide USDA the necessary scope to provide assistance to the dairy sector.
In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the lawmakers also ask for funds for the National Agricultural Statistics Service to complete a state dairy feed costs survey.
While the USDA has taken several steps within their existing authority to help dairy producers who are struggling to stay in business – like last week’s announcement that they will again purchase $20 million in cheese – the most meaningful relief will come from Congress providing additional authority.