Minnick, Simpson Win Support for Dairy Producers

Idaho Congressmen applaud USDA decision to respond to dairy crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick and Mike Simpson today applauded a decision by the United States Department of Agriculture to provide additional assistance to dairy producers in the wake of terrible economic conditions in the industry. Minnick and Simpson had written to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack earlier in the week asking for this assistance.

“Like most of my constituents, I very much appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s quick action to help Idaho’s dairy farmers and assist struggling families,” Minnick said. “Congressman Simpson and I share a deep respect for all that the dairy industry means to Idaho, and an appreciation for the need to make sure Idaho farmers and ranchers have the kinds of stable markets which are crucial to Idaho’s economy.”

“I am very appreciative to Secretary Vilsack for his quick response to our request, and those of others, for assistance to this vital sector of Idaho’s economy,” said Simpson. “The assistance being provided to dairy producers is being done under existing programs and existing authorities that were put in place to deal with economic emergencies such as those now facing the dairy industry. Along with Congressman Minnick, I will continue to monitor the impact of this decision and consider additional ways in which we might mitigate the impact of the current situation.”

The action announced today will help support struggling dairy farmers by increasing the amount paid for dairy products through the Dairy Product Price Support Program (DPPSP). USDA estimates show that these increases, which will be in place from August 2009 through October 2009, will increase dairy farmers’ revenue by $243 million.

The price support increases will raise the price paid for nonfat dry milk from $0.80 per pound to $0.92 per pound, the price paid for cheddar blocks from $1.13 per pound to $1.31 per pound, and the price of cheddar barrels from $1.10 per pound to $1.28 per pound. This increase in the support price will have an immediate effect upon dairy farmers’ bottom line. Temporarily raising the price of these dairy products increases the price that dairy farmers receive for their milk.

USDA also announced that it is currently reviewing federal dairy policy to determine what changes are needed to reduce price volatility and enhance farmer profitability.

Both Minnick and Simpson are charter members of the newly revived Congressional Dairy Caucus.