Press Releases

House Dairy Caucus Urges USDA to Support Dairy Farmers

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Washington, D.C., April 14, 2020 | comments

Today, Congressional Dairy Farmers Caucus Co-Chairs, Reps. Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Peter Welch (VT-At Large), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Tom Reed (NY-23), and Mike Simpson (ID-02), led a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Purdue urging support for dairy farmers facing an economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Dairy farmers need support immediately,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. “We urge you (Secretary Purdue) to use your authority to provide support directly to producers. The CARES Act provides the USDA with $9.5 billion to assist producers and specifically cites dairy in the statutory language. We ask that you take immediate action to support this critical industry.”

Specifically, the letter urges USDA to use tools available to it to help dairy producers, such as:

  • Paying producers to reduce production;
  • Compensating producers for milk that must be dumped;
  • Providing capital for processors to expand their capacity and increase their inventory;
  • Purchasing dairy products for food banks;
  • Reopening the Dairy Margin Coverage Program and providing retroactive coverage; and
  • Working to increase international food aid.

Reps. Annie Kuster (NH-02), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), and Jahana Hayes (CT-05) also signed onto the letter.

The full letter can be found here.
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