Pass Agriculture Bill to Prevent Doubling Dairy Prices

Target: Members of Congress

Goal: Urge Members of Congress to pass agriculture bill to prevent dairy prices from doubling

With all the attention on averting the fiscal cliff, Congress has forgotten to pass a necessary agriculture bill that will prevent an automatic doubling in price of dairy products. Without legislative action by year-end, U.S. farm policy would revert to the provisions of the last “permanent” farm bill, the Agriculture Act of 1949. Under the archaic Act, the government would be forced to buy milk at twice today’s price, thereby driving the cost to $6 – $8 per gallon. Please sign this petition and demand that Congress take swift action to keep dairy products affordable.

The current dairy subsidy dictates that the government intervenes if the price of milk drops by about half from its current national average of $3.65 a gallon. The dairy subsidy ensures that dairy farmers will stay in business if milk prices drop too low. Because the current agriculture bill expired last summer, several protections for farmers have already expired, and the dairy subsidy runs out January 1, 2013. If a new bill is not passed or the current one extended, the formula for calculating the price the government pays for dairy products reverts back to the Agriculture Act of 1949. Under the 1949 legislation, the government would be bound to offer “parity pricing” for milk that, once adjusted for inflation, would be far above current levels. If we do fall off the “dairy cliff,” milk may jump to $6 – $8 a gallon.

Congressional negotiations on a new five-year farm bill are deadlocked. The Senate passed a farm bill in June, and the House Agriculture Committee passed a version in July, which has not made it to a vote by the full House. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman, spoke out against Republicans in the House for inaction. “Fiscal cliff tax increases would hit middle class families’ pocketbooks, but so would paying six or seven dollars for a gallon of milk.”

Please sign this petition and demand that Congress agree on an agriculture bill before January 1, 2013 to prevent doubling dairy prices.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Members of Congress,

As the year comes to an end and your efforts are put toward avoiding the fiscal cliff, it is important not to neglect the other looming cliff ahead: the dairy cliff. Without an agriculture bill in place and the current one having expired at the end of September, “permanent” law goes into effect starting January 1, 2013. According to the permanent law, or the Agriculture Act of 1949, the dairy subsidy paid by the government would double, thus doubling the price consumers pay for milk and other dairy products. In order to avert the dairy cliff and subsequent demise of the American dairy industry, legislative action must be taken.

When people see the price of U.S. dairy products double, they will cut back on dairy or opt for imported dairy products instead. This would force food makers to search for alternatives to dairy, like soy. According to the Huffington Post, “At some point milk distributors and dairy users, including manufacturers of butter, cheese, yogurt and other products, could replace domestic supplies with imports from countries like New Zealand.” The potential ripple effect of inaction is not only devastating to consumers, but to dairy farmers and the agricultural industry altogether.

It is mandatory that you do your job and agree on an agricultural bill before the 1949 provisions go into effect.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org via Yahoo

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One Comment

  1. High prices will endanger infants, depriving the most vulnerable sector of our population of essential nutrition.

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