USDA Raises Dairy Support Payments

USDA Raises Dairy Support Payments

Increase receives positive responses.

The Obama Administration has responded to requests to improve the income level of the nation's dairy farmers. On Friday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the amount paid for dairy products through the Dairy Product Price Support Program will be increased for the next three months. USDA estimates show that these increases, which will be in place from August 2009 through October 2009, will increase dairy farmers' revenue by $243 million.


The increase will raise the price paid for nonfat dry milk from 80 cents per pound to 92 cents 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. Also, the government will purchase an additional 150 million pounds of non-fat dry milk and an additional 75 million pounds of cheese.


In making the announcement, Vilsack said the price increases will provide immediate relief to dairy farmers around the country and keep many on the farm while they weather one of the worst dairy crises in decades.


Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers federation says this is yet another important effort the USDA has made to help dairy farmers survive the worst recession in their lifetimes. Under the Dairy Product Price Support Program, USDA serves as a buyer of last resort to help clear commodity dairy markets during periods of exceptionally low farm-level prices.


"We believe it is an important next step in the broader effort to reverse the current dairy crisis," said Dairy Farmers of America Senior Vice President of Marketing and Industry Affairs John Wilson. "Every initiative we can successfully implement to bolster milk prices makes a vital difference to the dairy farmers who are fighting hard to maintain their livelihoods."


National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says Secretary Vilsack's announcement is a continued signal that the Administration understands the dire situation facing the dairy industry and both the Administration and Congress must act further to ensure the domestic dairy industry can survive.


"We got a clear message at our hearings from dairy farmers nationwide that the industry needed help during this difficult time, and I am pleased that USDA has recognized this crisis and responded quickly," said House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn. "Increasing the prices they receive will bring greatly needed relief to dairy farmers who need it desperately right now."

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