Farmers invited to engage on dairy policy reform at Dairy Together Road Show event June 27

Farm organizations across the country are banding together to advocate on proposals to stabilize dairy prices and slow the loss of family farms. Farmers and dairy industry stakeholders are invited to attend a Dairy Together Road Show event Thursday, June 27 at Springwood Organic Farm in Kinzers, Pennsylvania to learn more about how we can move forward on a plan for meaningful federal dairy policy reform.

The event, which will be from 11am to 2pm with an optional 9:30am farm tour, is being hosted by Pennsylvania Farmers Union and Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, with support from National Farmers Union, National Farmers Organization and Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU). Similar events have been held this spring across the United States, including in New England, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, California, and the Rocky Mountain region.

“To effect any meaningful change, it’s going to take a strong coalition of farm groups and other industry stakeholders,” said WFU President and Dairy Together leader Darin Von Ruden. “We’re pulling together farm organizations, agricultural lenders, equipment dealers, cooperative leaders and all who are being impacted by the current dairy crisis. This is a collaborative effort aimed at providing relief to struggling dairy farmers – and that relief can’t come soon enough.”

The groups will present research on an updated version of the Dairy Market Stabilization Program that was considered in the lead-up to the 2014 Farm Bill. Recognizing the urgency of the situation dairy farmers are facing, they also plan to unveil plans for short-term emergency relief.

Farm Income Analysis

Last winter, WFU enlisted dairy economists Mark Stephenson from the University of Wisconsin and Chuck Nicholson from Cornell University for an Analysis of Selected Dairy Programs to Reduce Volatility in Milk Prices and Farm Income. The Roadshow will share the researchers’ data on several potential programs’ impacts on net farm operating income, farm numbers, domestic demand and cost to the government versus the current Margin Protection Program.

“The bottom line on what we found was generally pretty positive in terms of thinking of what these programs could do,” Nicholson said. “We saw reduced variation in prices and also some price enhancement, increased net farm operating incomes, reduction in the rate of farm exits across farms of all sizes, and a reduction in government expenditures on dairy programs.”

Collaborating for Change

“Given the dire state of the U.S. dairy economy, it is crucial that dairy farmers bring along processors and consumers to find workable solutions to this crisis, said National Farmers Union Vice President Patty Edelburg. “Structural change can only be accomplished with a strong set of supporters.”

 

 

The family farm organizations stressed that with many more family farms on the brink of closure, now is the time to enact bold solutions to halt the loss of dairy farms.

“We are focused on policy changes that align with our organizations’ core values of family farming, fair economic policies, and thriving rural communities,” Von Ruden said. “We’re looking beyond milk labeling, increasing exports, and dairy insurance plans to actual long-term solutions.”

To register to attend, please visit www.dairytogether.com/events or RSVP to 717-576-0794. Sign up for updates, register for events, view a video analysis of the dairy research, and learn more at www.dairytogether.com.

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