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Higgins Announces Relief for Dairy Farmers

Jul 31, 2009
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced progress on efforts to provide relief to struggling dairy farmers in Western New York.  Today the administration increased dairy support prices, a move requested by Congressman Higgins and other members of the House, which will increase dairy farmers’ revenue by $243 million nationwide.

“The dairy business, an $88 million industry in Chautauqua and Erie Counties, has been severely impacted by the current recession,” said Congressman Higgins.  “Today’s relief and continued efforts that look at long-term solutions are essential to preventing complete devastation for dairy farmers, consumers and the entire Western New York economy.”

Yesterday Congressman Higgins joined 38 members of the House in sending a letter to federal Budget Director Peter Orszag asking him to support the Dairy Product Price Support Program (DPPSP).  The Administration announced today they will raise 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. 

Today Higgins also became 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%. 

This week Congressman Higgins also joined other members of congress in founding a reestablished House Dairy Farmer Caucus.  Dairy farmers nationwide have suffered tremendously as milk prices have collapsed and milk production costs exceed the selling price.  The Caucus was formed to not only help dairy farmers survive this current crisis, but 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.  The Caucus will serve as a mechanism to build consensus on legislation impacting the dairy industry while also serving as a means to educate members and their staff on issues of concern to the industry.