Press Release

As Conference Committee Debates Final Farm Bill, Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Effort to Keep Dairy Pricing Reforms

Nov 4, 2013

Washington, D.C.- As the House and Senate Conference Committee negotiate the final 2013 Farm Bill, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins today urged the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee to include their bipartisan measure in the final Farm Bill that would help stabilize milk prices.

The bipartisan Gillibrand-Collins proposal, known as the Dairy Pricing Reform Act, would require the USDA to begin a pre-hearing process to restructure the dairy pricing system, and direct the Secretary of Agriculture to release the Department’s recommendations to Congress. This builds on language Senator Gillibrand secured in the Senate Farm Bill (S. 10) that requires the USDA to study different methods of determining prices, including competitive pay pricing or shifting from a 4 class system to a 2 class system. 

“For years, New York’s dairy farmers have endured a lack of transparency and volatility in the market that has fueled uncertainty and instability, and hurt hard working farmers on their bottom line,” said Senator Gillibrand, New York’s first member of the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “When our family farms suffer, our whole state and whole economy suffer. Our bipartisan provisions in the 2013 Farm Bill are a strong step to give farmers a better, more just pricing system that they deserve, and it must be part of any final Farm Bill.”

As another effort to make the final Farm Bill strong for New York dairy farmers, Senator Gillibrand is fighting to include a proposal she led the effort for that would require the disclosure of dairy products sold and stored, including cold storage inventory. This would strengthen transparency for dairy farmers to aid price discovery and certainty for the demand of their products, stabilizing the price of milk. Improved reporting can also save farmers valuable time and resources, while maintaining their competitiveness.

Both the Gillibrand-Collins letter to Senate Agriculture Committee leaders and Senator Gillibrand’s letter to the Conference Committee are attached.