Senators Ask For Review of Raw Milk Floor Price

Bipartisan groups submits letter to Secretary Vilsack citing higher milk production costs.

Published on: Sep 28, 2012

A bipartisan group of six senators asked USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack this week to review the floor price for raw milk.

"Our domestic food supply is being severely challenged by this year's prolonged drought," the Senators' letter said.

"Since June, the cost of corn and other components of feed have risen dramatically,' the letter continued, "Corn reserves have plummeted to a 15-year low. As we face this climate crisis, a consideration of the effects on milk prices would seem to be in order."

Almost 1,600 counties in 32 states have been declared drought disaster areas, decreasing grain yields across the U.S.

"At a time when farmers' costs are soaring because of the high price of grain, I am glad that we have bipartisan support for hard-pressed dairy farmers in this letter to Secretary Vilsack," Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said. "The letter demands that he investigate whether farmers can continue to stay in business at the milk price floor now set by the federal government," he added.

Senators cite higher feed costs for review of floor price for raw milk.
Senators cite higher feed costs for review of floor price for raw milk.

Federal milk marketing orders are administered by the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service. The orders establish minimum pricing rules in 10 regions throughout the United States (except in California) for the sale of raw fluid-grade (Grade A) milk from the producer to the processor or manufacturer.

The program sets monthly minimum prices that the milk handlers must pay. The prices that producers actually receive may be higher, depending on market conditions.

The letter was submitted by Sens. Sanders, Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Susan Collins, R-Maine, Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. and Al Franken, D-Minn.

Read the full text of the letter here.