WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the face of difficult dairy market conditions in Wisconsin and across the country, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Vice Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) urging them to protect the economic security of our nation’s dairy farmers and update and expand the Dairy Margin Protection Program in the FY2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill to better support the needs of family farmers.
Source: Wisconsin State Farmer
“Our family dairy farmers are facing extremely challenging times and Washington has failed to respond,” said Senator Baldwin. “It is critical that we update the Dairy Margin Protection Program, which is an important tool for the economic security of dairy farmers.”
The Dairy Margin Protection Program was passed in the 2014 Farm Bill as a tool for dairy farmers to manage the risks they face from market fluctuations in milk prices and feed costs. It serves as an insurance program that makes payments to dairy farmers when the margin between the price of milk and cost of feed falls below a certain level.
“Farmers pay for the insurance, and can choose their preferred coverage level when enrolling. The program has not provided meaningful coverage for dairy farmers and is in need of reform,” Baldwin wrote in her letter.
The Wisconsin U.S. senator said that the past few years have been very difficult for dairy farmers, and many have decided to stop milking.
“Once again, family dairy farmers are facing yet another year of low prices and uncertain markets. Without prompt action, many more may be forced to stop farming,” she wrote. “Washington has neglected this problem for too long and Congress must act to ensure that Wisconsin dairy farmers have meaningful tools to manage their risk in the face of these difficult market conditions.”
Baldwin hoped that fellow lawmakers would take action and “do right by our farm families and the rural communities they support.”