Gov. Steve Beshear has requested that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack utilize all available resources under his authority in an effort to save dairy farms and the jobs that these farms create. Record low milk prices and high input costs are leading to devastating losses in dairy farming communities across the country.
Because this is an issue for dairy farmers nationwide, not just Kentucky, Beshear garnered the support of six other governors to co-sign the letter to Vilsack, including the governors of Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Guam, Oklahoma and Vermont.
The governors collectively asked for support of a federal bill that would adjust the overall payment rate for the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program. This legislation, sponsored by Vermont Congressman Peter Welch, would adjust the MILC payment rate from 45 percent to 79 percent of the difference between the price of milk and the target price.
The governors applauded measures that Vilsack and the Obama Administration have previously taken to help the dairy industry through the Dairy Export Incentive Program and the Dairy Product Price Support Program. Though these changes may provide relief in the coming months, the governors stressed the need for relief to offset losses already incurred in the last six months.