California Farmers Union President Joaquin Contente testified on behalf of National Farmers Union before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry today on the financial crisis gripping dairy farmers.
“In my lifelong history as a dairy farmer, I have never seen prices remain this far below our costs for this long and I have never seen so many dairy producers so desperate for relief,” Contente said. “In my county alone 25 dairies have either filed or are in the process of filing for bankruptcy and many more are closer to bankruptcy each day.”
“In order to end this crisis, it is vital that dairy producers come together to agree upon policy changes that will lift the industry out of this deepening crisis,” Contente said.
The California Dairy Campaign and California Farmers Union have put forward a resolution that calls on the president, Congress and the United States Department of Agriculture to acknowledge the importance of the dairy industry nationwide as well as the unique aspects of the dairy industry region-by-region through the following four steps:
- Updating the federal dairy product price support program to reflect today’s cost of production;
- Implementing fair tariffs on unregulated imported dairy solids;
- Mandating greater market transparency.
- Establishing a milk inventory management program.
“There are family dairy farms that have weathered many economic storms, but the crisis they confront today is unparalleled in our history,” Contente said. “The outlook for dairy producers in California and across the country is grim unless Congress acts quickly to reform federal dairy policies.”