Cheese
August 15, 2016

AFBF Joins Groups Seeking More Assistance for Dairy Farmers

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

Amidst depressed prices, lawmakers and farm groups, including the National Milk Producers Federation, have asked USDA to provide more help to dairy farmers struggling to stay in business. Add Zippy Duval, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation to that list. Duval sent a letter to Secretary Vilsack on behalf of Farm Bureau members requesting a stronger safety net for dairy producers.  

In the letter he sent last week, Duval explained the May milk price of $14.50 is the lowest it has been since 2009. "The decline in dairy farm revenue has led many dairy farm families to exit the industry," Duvall wrote. "In 2015 we lost 1,225 dairy farms — many of those small dairy farm operations where the average herd size is fewer than 200 milking cows."

USDA recently offered producers a new risk management tool with the last farm bill, the Margin Protection Program. Unfortunately, farmers haven’t been quick to adopt MPP and many of those who have participated have not been pleased with the program.

In his letter, Duval asked the agency to purchase cheese that can be used in school lunch programs and be given to food banks.

"Specifically, we believe cheese could be purchased in a quantity that would help the dairy industry and yet not negatively impact our exports of cheese products," Duvall said. "If the Department spent $50 million, it could purchase 28 million pounds of cheese for domestic feeding programs. This would not only be beneficial to those in need of food, but also would help reduce the record high inventories and would provide a positive price impact for dairy producers."

Do you think the government purchasing cheese will improve prices?

Farm Groups Ask USDA to Buy Cheese Surplus

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