U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have filed an amendment (S.A. 2190) to the 2012 Farm Bill (S. 3240) that would provide certainty for the nation's dairy farmers by stabilizing milk pricing. Specifically, the amendment would allow dairy industry groups to present milk pricing reforms to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for consideration in a public hearing setting; eliminate the end product price formula to set prices for class III milk; and order the Secretary of Agriculture to release the Department's final proposal to industry organizations for approval by referendum.
"The last thing Maine's more than 300 dairy farms -- many of them small businesses -- need in these tumultuous economic times is an outdated and unfair federal pricing scheme that would undercut their competitiveness and prosperity in the marketplace," said Senator Snowe, Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee. "It is critical we protect our farmers, who have created over 4,000 good paying jobs in Maine, from new government imposed pricing schemes that subjectively regulate the dairy market. I hope my colleagues will support our commonsense amendment to aid this critical segment of our economy."
"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 farmers deserve a better, more just pricing system."