Senator Gillibrand Proposes $300 Million Emergency Relief For Dairy Farmers

WASHINGTON – With current milk prices plummeting, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D), has proposed an amendment to this year’s Farm Bill that would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to authorize $300 million in emergency relief funding for dairy farmers.
Gillibrand, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said the emergency funding would be authorized through the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). The USDA has the authority to provide direct financial assistance to struggling agricultural industries, and last month, Gillibrand called on the USDA to utilize this authority once more for dairy farmers in New York and across the country. After receiving a negative response from the USDA, Gillibrand is now introducing an amendment to the Farm Bill to require the USDA to assist New York dairy farmers during this crisis. This authority was used most recently in 2016 and 2018 to support and protect cotton farmers.
“Dairy farms are at the heart of New York’s rural economy, but milk prices are so low that more than 1,200 dairy farms have shut down in just the last decade, and many more are on the brink of failing. This is a crisis right in our own backyard,” Gillibrand said. “I want this emergency funding to go directly to the farmers who need it, so they can keep producing milk without going bankrupt. The USDA should do the right thing and give our dairy farmers the help they need now.”
The Associated Press reported that milk prices were at record levels in 2014, about $24 per 100 pounds (about 9 gallons) but have slipped to as low as $15 per 100 pounds. In 2009, prices plunged to as low as $12 per 100 pounds.
Dairy farmers could receive $8,000 on average directly from the USDA if Gillibrand’s amendment is accepted into the farm bill. New York is the third-largest dairy producing state, with more than 4,400 dairies producing nearly 15 billion pounds of milk each year.