U.S. Senators from the east coast to the west coast are fighting to ensure that their dairy farmers get a piece of the government's pie. The pie consists of $350 million devoted to helping the struggling dairy industry. Under an agreement, $60 million would be set aside to cover purchases of surplus cheese and other dairy products, but there were no specifics on how the remaining $290 million would be distributed.
Eastern lawmakers support the system already in use, a program that pays farmers when prices fall but caps benefits after they produce three million pounds of milk. Western lawmakers, however, want a different method, saying the current system disproportionately benefits small dairy farmers.
"You try your best to be as objective as possible and as sensitive as you can to other regions' points of view," said Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa. "But you have to represent your state's interests and fight very hard."