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Call for action on dairy pricing

By Farms.com

The plight of dairy farmers, grappling with financial instability due to suboptimal milk pricing, has prompted a coalition of the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union to seek immediate intervention from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.  

This move highlights the critical nature of the situation and the urgent need for regulatory adjustments to safeguard the livelihoods of dairy producers. 

The shift from a more favorable milk pricing formula, which occurred with the enactment of the 2018 farm bill, replaced the advantageous "higher-of" Class III or IV price calculations with a less beneficial average-plus method. This reconfiguration has led to widespread dissatisfaction among dairy farmers, who have seen their incomes erode under the current regime. 

The collective outcry for change is rooted in the experiences and testimonies of dairy farmers themselves, many of whom have voiced their struggles at various forums and hearings organized by farm advocacy groups. The consensus is clear: the existing formula fails to reflect the economic realities faced by dairy farmers, necessitating a prompt return to the previous pricing methodology. 

The call for reinstating the "higher-of" formula is not just about rectifying a pricing discrepancy; it's about ensuring the dairy industry's sustainability and the economic well-being of those who fuel it. With historical data and recent discussions supporting this stance, the farm leaders' request for an interim final decision is a testament to their commitment to the dairy community's future. 

By addressing this critical issue, the hope is to reestablish a fair and functional pricing framework that reflects the true value of dairy products, providing farmers with a fighting chance in a challenging marketplace. The concerted effort by farm organizations underscores the importance of timely and responsive policy measures to maintain a resilient and thriving dairy sector.


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