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Congressman Higgins Continues Fight for Dairy Farmers

Mar 25, 2010
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27), a member of the House of Representatives Dairy Caucus, joined other members of Congress in asking Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack to increase support prices to farmers.

“New York ranks third in the nation in dairy product production and in Western New York it represents a multimillion dollar industry. It is a challenging time for dairy farms in Erie and Chautauqua Counties and this support would provide some needed relief,” said Higgins.

In total, twenty-six members of Congress joined Congressman Higgins in asking the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase support prices, through the Dairy Product Price Support Program, in response to the recent collapse in cheese prices.

Last July the Administration agreed to a similar request by Higgins and others. From August through October there was an increase in the price paid for nonfat dry milk from $0.80 per pound to $0.92 per pound, the price paid for cheddar blocks from $1.13 per pound to $1.31 per pound, and the price of cheddar barrels from $1.10 per pound to $1.28 per pound.

Congressman Higgins is also a cosponsor the Dairy Relief and Market Stabilization Act, introduced by Rep. Scott Murphy. This bill would increase payments under the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program. MILC is a subsidy program that pays farmers 45% of the difference between the market price of milk and $16.94. This legislation, critical to dairy farmers in the Northeast, would temporarily increase that percentage to 90%.

The Dairy Farmer Caucus was reestablished last fall to advocate on behalf of the needs of our dairy farmers, revaluate the dairy support system and build a consensus for a long-term solution that will work better for our dairy farmers.

Attachment: Letter to the USDA Secretary