Government assistance has been the redeemer of another industry in recent years â€" the dairy industry. But the cost of that support is rising as dairy farmers struggle with the immutable laws of supply and demand.
The meager returns from the Milk Income Loss Contract Program, combined with the nationwide depression of prices, has spawned several plans designed to bolster the bottom line of U.S. dairy farmers. The newest idea is being fronted by the National Milk Producers Federation. Rolled out as Cooperatives Working Together, the federation hopes to reduce nationwide output by 1.2 billion pounds, about 7-tenths of one percent of total U.S. milk production. Reductions are to take place through herd retirements, marketing reductions and product exports. The program will be privately funded by a voluntary five cent per hundredweight contribution from the farmer.
This is not the only proposal on the table. Two previously implemented programs are receiving another look, as well. The New York Farm Bureau would like to see milk processors, once again, pay support prices. Meanwhile, New York Senator Charles Schumer has unveiled legislation to reinstate the much ballyhooed Northeast Dairy Compact.