Food Engineering

More support for dairy farmers needed now

April 5, 2012
A USDA report finds that the US’s largest 1,750 dairy farms supply more than 50 percent of the country’s milk. The same research shows that nearly 20,000 farms, about one third of the total number of US dairy farms, have fewer than 30 cows and produce only one percent of the milk supply. The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), which represents dairy processors, says pending legislation that enjoys bi-partisan support will actually accelerate the current trend.

“It’s pretty easy to see how the small farms will get squeezed out of business faster by this new government program,” says Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy. “The solution is to offer dairy farmers the same opportunity for catastrophic and revenue insurance that is being offered to other farmers. Congress expects to spend $90 billion over the next 10 years on such insurance programs for other commodities but refuses to budget any of this for dairy farmers.”

The Dairy Security Act of 2011 is designed to update the safety net for producers, to avoid a repeat of conditions in 2009, when milk prices plunged.