August 4, 2016

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

WASHINGTON (August 4, 2016) – U.S. dairy farmers have been financially stressed by a significant decline in milk prices, and National Farmers Union (NFU) is relieved to see the first significant set of payments by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). The payments, totaling $11.2 million, will be provided to MPP-enrolled producers that signed up at $6.00 margins and above.

In response to today’s USDA announcement, NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement:

“The U.S. dairy industry has witnessed a loss of more than 18,000 dairy farms in the last decade. The current downturn has accelerated the trend even further.  NFU has advocated for immediate action to help farmers who have been challenged by this extended period of low milk prices, and on behalf of our family farm members, we are appreciative of this initial relief.

“Further action by Congress will be needed to assist America’s family dairy farmers. MPP-Dairy, the safety net for dairy producers, has not operated effectively because the enacted formula does not accurately reflect the cost of production. As a result, in 2015, U.S. dairy producers paid $73 million into MPP-Dairy and only received $700,000 back from the program. As USDA announced today, producers enrolled at the $6 to $8 margin trigger coverage level will receive assistance.

“NFU is appreciative of the commitment to U.S. dairy producers, including a letter sent last week to USDA by more than 60 Congressional members asking for immediate price support. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and USDA in support of family farmers, including additional short-term relief and longer-term fixes like adjustments to MPP-Dairy in the next Farm Bill.”

The Congressional dairy letter can be read here.

More information about NFU’s recently-announced Emergency Dairy Planning Committee can be accessed here.

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


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