Wisconsin Farmers Union members stood behind U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT, Sept. 15 as he and a coalition of other Senators called for legislation to support dairy farmers. Sanders' amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill would provide $350 million for milk price supports and increased government purchases of surplus dairy products.
"It is clear from our meetings with Congress members they are aware of the economic collapse within the dairy farming industry," said WFU President Sue Carlson. "We must focus on what can be done now and what must be done so this does not happen in the future."
Along with the Sanders amendment, WFU is supporting the Milk Import Tariff Equity Act to close the milk protein concentrate loophole and the Family Dairy Preservation Act of 2009 to temporarily increase Milk Income Loss Contract program benefits.
Sen. Kohl issued a letter yesterday to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Justice urging a closer look into antitrust issues involving giant companies that dominate the dairy products market. Sen. Feingold told WFU members during a meeting yesterday he support this investigation as well.
"We do need to look at why these companies are posting record profits while more and more family dairy farms are failing," Carlson said. "Farmers are getting about one-fourth of the price consumers are paying for their gallon of milk."