U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, along with Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), led a bipartisan coalition of Senators today in urging Agriculture Committee Leaders to keep a key dairy pricing reform amendment in any final Farm Bill agreement. The Snowe-Gillibrand amendment that was included in the Senate Farm Bill would jumpstart the process to bring certainty for the nation's dairy farmers by stabilizing milk pricing, has passed the full Senate as part of the 2012 Farm Bill.
"For years, New York's dairy farms have endured volatility in the market -- as feed and fuel costs rise, the price of milk plummeted," said Senator Gillibrand, New York's first member of the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. "When our family farms suffer, our whole state and whole economy suffer. Our bipartisan amendment is a strong step to give farmers a better, more just pricing system that they deserve, and it must be part of any final Farm Bill."
Specifically, the amendment (S. 1481) would allow dairy industry groups to present milk pricing reforms to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for consideration in a public hearing setting, and order the Secretary of Agriculture to release the Department's final proposal to Congress.
The effort to keep the Snowe-Gillibrand amendment as part of any final Farm Bill deal is supported by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Tom Udall (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA).