As dairy farmers struggle to cope with rising production costs driven up during this summer's severe drought, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, joined a bipartisan group of senators from leading dairy states asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to review the floor price for unprocessed milk.
"Dairy farmers have long been the lifeblood of upstate New York, and now more than ever we must ensure that they are well-supported and that milk is priced fairly. That is why we are calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to review the floor price of unprocessed milk, to ensure that dairy farmers can thrive as we continue to climb out of recession into recovery," said Senator Schumer.
"For New York State's economy to grow, we need our dairy farms to thrive," Senator Gillibrand said. "Still recovering from last year's back-to-back natural disasters and a late spring frost, the summer's drought is just the latest drain on our dairy farms' productivity. America has always stood by those who are suffering and helped them to rebuild. And we need to continue standing by New York's farmers so they can get back to business, and keep our agricultural industry on the move."
The cost of grain for dairy farmers has skyrocketed as a result of supply shortages caused by the worst U.S. drought in at least 50 years. Almost 1,600 counties in 32 states have been declared natural disaster areas after drought seared millions of acres of pasture and cropland across the United States.
Federal milk marketing orders are administered by the Agriculture Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The orders establish minimum pricing rules in 10 regions throughout the United States (except in California) for the sale of fluid-grade (Grade A) milk from the producer to the processor or manufacturer.
Created by Congress in 1937, the program sets monthly minimum prices that the milk handlers must pay. The prices that producers actually receive may be higher, depending on market conditions.