After Farm Aid delivered the petition you all signed to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on June 18th, it was apparent more pressure was needed to encourage him to respond to the alarming conditions in dairy. Yesterday, in the next step of our help for struggling dairy farmers, Farm Aid, along with 57 family farm, environmental and consumer organizations, delivered a letter to Congress urging both the House and Senate to support the Secretary in any efforts to establish an emergency floor price for farm milk that reflects the cost of production.
The letter was delivered in time for this morning's House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing to address the dire economic conditions facing the dairy industry. The witnesses slated to speak are industry and cooperative representatives, while family farm organizations that have been working on the frontlines on behalf of dairy farmers for decades were excluded. The National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), a long time partner of Farm Aid, plans to flyer outside Congressional offices to protest the hearing for shutting out vital farmer voices. NFFC, Farm Aid and Food & Water Watch will host a press teleconference call at 3 P.M. in response to the hearing.
"The crisis in dairy is not about farmers producing too much milk; it is about unregulated and unnecessary imports. This crisis is not about a decline in demand; it is about ineffective policies leading to unfair, easily manipulated pricing formulas and extremely volatile, unpredictable markets. We know that setting an emergency floor price for farm milk will not address all the problems that led to the current crisis, but it may be the only way to keep thousands of dairy farmers on the land this year."
Click here to read the entire letter (PDF format).