Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President Kent Peppler, a Mead, Colo., farmer issued a statement supporting Colorado District 4 Representative Betsy Markey’s appeal to the Secretary of Agriculture for assistance with the diary crisis in America.
“Farmers Union has testified twice before House committees in recent weeks to get some relief for the dairy industry. Milk prices are currently below production costs by nearly 50 percent. Dairy owners can’t afford to lose money maintaining their herds. If dairy cattle are sold for beef, that will hurt cattlemen by dropping beef prices, it will hurt dairy producers by reducing their ability to recover when prices come back up, and it will hurt consumers, who will find themselves paying whatever the surviving corporate diary monopolies care to charge for milk and cheese.”
In her letter to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack, Markey urged him to boost milk prices through price supports. She also asked that he take steps to make standards of the USDA’s commodity credit program consistent with commercial standards, to simplify surplus sales to the CCC.
“We have called for a complete overhaul of the federal milk program,” Peppler said. “But that takes time, and time is running out for dairy producers all over the Rocky Mountain region. Between the collapse of milk prices, the disappearance of New Frontier Bank, and the increased costs for grain, feed, and operating expenses, we are looking at a disaster we will all have to deal with, producers and consumers alike. Representative Markey is right; we need to stop the bleeding or there won’t be a patient to save.”