Lawmakers mull modernizing US milk pricing system

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 2:04 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WCAX) - U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday held a hearing on how to improve and reform the way dairy products are priced.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand chairs the Senate subcommittee responsible for the dairy industry. She says consolidation by major dairy producers has left smaller producers unable to make a profit and caused what she calls a modern-day dairy crisis.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy says since 2012, Vermont has lost 40% of its dairies.

“That’s 400 families no longer milking cows. That impact is seen in our communities, across our working landscape. Our farmers continue to struggle in an economic climate beyond their control,” said Leahy, D-Vermont.

“Dairy farmers are facing rising costs of production and current dairy prices aren’t covering them. Farmers’ costs for needs like labor and fuel have been increasing for years and the corn and soy used for feed are seeing a historic price rally,” said Gillibrand, D-New York.

New York is the country’s fourth-largest dairy-producing state and the largest producer of yogurt.

Since 2003, the U.S. has lost more than half of its licensed dairy operations, with nearly 40,000 licensed dairy herds exiting dairy production.

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