August 25, 2016

Northeast Lawmakers Say Cheese Buyout Isn’t Enough

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

Earlier this week, USDA announced buying $20 million of cheese in an effort to bolster prices for America’s dairy farmers. The buyout was in response to a bipartisan group of lawmakers requesting USDA provide support for producers beyond the Margin Protection Program. Still, not all lawmakers think this week’s announcement is sufficient.

“While I appreciate USDA’s quick response to our urgent request for assistance for our dairy farmers, it is clear that this modest first step does not go far enough to make a substantial difference on the ground,” Congressman Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) said in a statement Tuesday. “I will continue to work with my colleagues to find long-term, comprehensive solutions to lift up our nation’s struggling dairy industry.” 

Likewise, some of Courtney’s neighbors are also underwhelmed by USDA’s help. In a joint statement Vermont Senators Leahy, Sanders and Welch expressed their intent to get more support for Vermont farmers.

“Secretary Vilsack’s announcement that the USDA will purchase $20 million in commodity cheese products in support of nutrition programs nationwide is welcome news,” they said. “These are small steps, but any steps to stabilize dairy prices will help. This action also helps address the great need for access to nutritious dairy products facing struggling families in households across the nation. We have heard from dairy farmers in Vermont facing the pressure of declining milk prices, and we will continue to fight for additional steps by USDA to support dairy farmers.”