Senators Back Dairy Supply Management

07/12/10 12:04PM By John Dillon

(Host) Vermont's two U.S. senators are backing legislation that would stabilize dairy prices through a system designed to curb over-production of milk.

Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders spoke at a news conference this morning at the Ethan Allen Farm in South Burlington.

Sanders said that dairy farmers in Vermont and around the country have been whipsawed by wide swings in price. 

(Sanders) "Over the last 20 years, the dairy industry has suffered through a series of increasingly violent boom and bust cycles. In 2004, the price of a hundredweight of milk rose to $19.30 before crashing to $11.90 in 2006."

(Host) The legislation would pay farmers a higher amount for a pre-determined production level. Farmers would get assessed a penalty if they produced more. Senator Leahy said the goal is to stabilize milk prices and put farmers in control.

(Leahy) "What it says in simplest terms, you have a certain base price in your milk, and if you produce more, then you're not going to penalize everybody else - you're going to have to pay a fee for it, and that's going to go into a pool."

(Host) Both senators said that getting dairy legislation though congress will be difficult. But they said farmers are unifying behind the supply management program, which should improve the chances for the bill's passage.



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