Leahy urges USDA to take action to support dairy farmers

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy is asking for immediate action to help America's dairy farmers.

He and 23 other senators sent a letter on Monday to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking for the dairy market to be stabilized. In addition to direct support from Congress, the lawmakers are urging ag officials to offer farmers voluntary incentives to curtail production because of the current supply glut. They also want the U.S. government to buy milk products to shore up the industry.

"The purchase should concentrate on products that have lost their normal restaurant, food service, and export markets, and that can be repackaged or repurposed for nutrition programs such as processed cheese, mozzarella cheese, shelf-stable milk, and skim milk
powder," said the letter.

Leahy says the pandemic's effect on dairy prices has already led to nearly $6 billion in losses at the farm level. That comes on the heels of five consecutive years of low prices.