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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

All you Republican farmers need to check this out

When Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was here she got an earful from LaFargeville farm activist Floyd Hall. Apparently she paid attention.

Senator Gillibrand held a conference call today and laid out her plans to ease the pain of NY's dairy farmers. Her plans include, from the press release:
First, Senator Gillibrand is introducing legislation this week that would double the amount of money farmers get from the MILC program retroactive to the low point of the crisis in March. While raising the MILC payment rate to 90 percent will not completely make up the gap between cost of production and market rates, it will certainly help prevent more New York farms from going under.
Second, Senator Gillibrand will introduce legislation that would index the MILC rate of $16.94 to inflation. The price floor of $16.94 per hundredweight has not changed since the 1990’s, yet the cost of production has increased exponentially. The MILC program payments were originally designed to help dairy farmers in their time of need, but have remained stagnant. While this legislation would not address the current crisis, it would help farmers in the coming years by providing a safety net that allows farmers to break even.
Finally, as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Gillibrand pledged to hold Senate hearings on dairy pricing both in Washington, DC and New York State. The hearings will focus on reforms for the daily pricing system. Senator Gillibrand hopes to work with stakeholders and economists to develop a proposal before the next Farm Bill is written in 2012.