For those readers following the dairy industry closely, here's the latest news from D.C.: this morning, Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry, calling for the committee to help struggling farmers. "If we can do it for Wall Street ... we can certainly find a way to do it for our farmers," Welch said, speaking about the need for immediate assistance for farmers caught up in the dairy crisis.
Welch pointed out that New England's dairy industry needs both an immediate boost and long-term reform. The short term aid, he said, should come in an increase in Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) payments. Boosting MILC payments, he said, is a short term solution "to help put money back in the pockets of producers until prices recover." He asked the committee to consider reopening the 2008 Farm Bill, urging committee members to "recognize the extreme nature of this crisis and to make an exception in this case."
But Welch this morning also called for long-term solutions to volatility in the dairy industry. "Most of the producers I have spoken with have candidly told me they would rather make less during the boom years in exchange for price stability," he said. "If we don’t act now to bring about long-term reform, we will be forced to revisit the same problem the next time dairy prices crash — that is, assuming our farms survive the present crisis."
Here's the video footage of his testimony: