Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dairy News

VerMeer Dairy, Wilder, Jake Putnam photo


Washington--House and Senate negotiators agreed on a $350 million aid package to the nation's dairy farmers facing the lowest farm-gate milk price in decades.

The agreement includes $60 million in cheese and dairy product purchases for food banks and other nutrition and feeding programs, and $290 million in direct support to dairy farmers using guidelines determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.

"These are desperate times in farming, and we can't lose sight of the fact that farming losses reverberate through our rural communities," Senator Kohl said. "We hope this funding can provide a measure of relief to the farms and small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat through this storm of mounting costs and debt."

The money will be part of the annual funding bill for USDA for the fiscal year that opens on October 1st. House and Senate negotiators were scheduled to meet on Wednesday afternoon to vote formally on the aid and other parts of the funding bill.

During the past year, the USDA's Farm Service Agency has made more than $143 million in Milk Income Loss Contract payments to Idaho farmers; and has taken steps to bolster dairy markets through the Dairy Export Incentives Program and temporary adjustments to the Dairy Product Price Support Program.

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