MESHOPPEN, Pa. — Addressing dairy farmers from New York and Pennsylvania April 1, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.) said they were preparing to re-introduce S-1722, “The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2007.”
Sens. Specter and Casey introduced the original bill in June 2007. Both senators expressed their sincere concern regarding the financial nightmare facing all dairy farmers across the U.S.
The two Pennsylvania senators admit the pricing system used to determine the value of milk on our dairy farms is seriously flawed and must be fixed.
Arden Tewksbury, manager of the Progressive Agriculture Organization (Pro Ag), on behalf of thousands of dairy farmers, expressed his gratitude to the two senators for their willingness to reintroduce S-1722.
In addition to Specter’s and Casey’s involvement with S-1722, Tewksbury said, “Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the group he definitely intends to co-sponsor the dairy bill.”
The group of dairy farmers who made the trip to Washington worked to distribute information to nearly 400 Congressional and Senatorial offices informing them about S-1722.
According to Pro Ag officials, milk prices have plummeted to $11.45 per cwt ($1 per gallon) in many areas and this represents a decline in prices of 40 percent during the last six months.
The former S-1722 would price milk on the dairy farms all across the U.S. by using the national average cost of production.
In addition, the bill calls for a milk supply management program to be used if necessary.
Tewksbury said, “The milk supply management program, which would be funded by dairy farmers, is necessary to assure dairy farmers receive a fair price for their milk.”
An addition in the new bill would require the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture report on a timely basis the amount of milk that imports of dairy products represents.
The proposed bill does not allow the Secretary of Agriculture to implement the milk supply management program if the amount of imported dairy products exceeds the amount of exports of dairy products.
In addition to re-introducing S-1722, both Sen. Specter and Sen. Casey are working on other avenues to improve prices paid to dairy farmers on a short-term basis.