The National Milk Producers Federation is asking members of Congress, as they return home for the August congressional recess, to meet with struggling dairy farmers in their districts to discuss the economic conditions affecting farmers, and the need for Congress to pass a new farm bill in 2012.
NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak said introducing a dialogue will help the House and the Senate understand the need for a Farm Bill. Kozak said the Dairy Security Act was a needed reform.
"We hope that Members of Congress will take time to visit local dairy farms to experience up-close the challenges dairy farmers are facing and understand why it is so imperative to pass a five-year farm bill which includes a better safety net for farmers," Kozak said. "We are approaching a crisis comparable to or worse than that of 2009, when dairy farmers lost $20 billion in equity and thousands of farmers went out of business."
Kozak said increasing cost of inputs are hurting dairies. The NMPF is a supporter of the Dairy Security Act.
"When you factor in additional operating costs, such as labor and energy costs, on top of the sky-high price of feed caused by the ongoing drought, dairy farmers are currently selling their milk for far less than the cost of production," said Kozak. "The Dairy Security Act would give producers and their bankers the assurances they need to continue their operations through these tough times."
Kozak said that farmers themselves should take this message to their elected officials during the next four weeks, with the hope that Congress can be spurred to action after Labor Day.
"We applaud the pledge from Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas,R-Okla., and Ranking Members Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Collin Peterson, D-Minn., to continue their push for full passage of a comprehensive, five-year farm bill after the August recess. NMPF will continue to stand behind our agricultural leaders in this effort to pass a five-year farm bill this year."