The American Farm Bureau Federation wants the Department of Agriculture to provide emergency assistance to dairy farmers. The request follows a call by 61 members of Congress asking USDA to provide emergency assistance to the nation’s dairy farmers, against a backdrop of plummeting farm-level milk prices. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, AFBF President Zippy Duvall noted that the U.S. all-milk price fell to $14.50 per hundredweight in May, the lowest level since 2009. In addition, he told USDA, dairy farm cash receipts from milk sales have fallen $16 billion since the record highs of 2014. USDA is projecting a 2016 average milk price of $15.70 per hundredweight, down 35 percent from 2014 and the second-lowest level in the past decade. Duvall said AFBF was “extremely appreciative” of USDA’s deadline extension to sign-up for MPP as well as the expansion of a farm’s production when new family members join the business. He noted AFBF also believes the $11.2 million in MPP assistance announced last week will help, but says more can be done. Duvall asked USDA to buy additional dairy products to be used in USDA’s nutrition programs and for donations to food banks.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.