March 29, 2011

Gillibrand To Serve As Chair For The Subcommittee On Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing And Agriculture Security

First New Yorker To Serve on Senate Agriculture Committee in Nearly 40 Years, Gillibrand Will Play Key Role In Shaping Dairy Pricing System in Upcoming Farm Bill

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that she will serve as Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing and Agriculture Security.    The first New York Senator in 40 years to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Gillibrand also served on the House Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry while representing New York’s 20 Congressional District. 

Senator Gillibrand will continue to work hard in the Senate to overhaul the milk pricing system with fair competitive pricing for dairy producers, make the pricing system more transparent, prevent looming cuts to the MILC program, bolster New York’s dairy exports, stabilize dairy trading prices, and provide dairy farmers with the tools and information they need.

“I am honored for the opportunity to serve as Chair of this Subcommittee,” Senator Gillibrand said.  “New York’s dairy farmers are facing a crisis, and we cannot wait for the next Farm Bill to develop solutions. I look forward to correcting the outdated regulations and bad pricing structures that make it difficult for our nation’s agricultural sector to thrive.”

Last summer, Senator Gillibrand began holding listening sessions with agriculture communities across New York State, gathering input in preparation for the next Farm Bill. New York dairy farmers need immediate solutions to the dairy crisis, and Senator Gillibrand is moving forward to lay the foundation to achieve comprehensive reform of dairy pricing, to minimize volatility in dairy pricing, and help protect and preserve the cornerstone of New York State’s rural economies.

According to the USDA, New York State lost 23 percent of its dairy farms in the last nine years.  As of 2007, New York State was home to nearly 5,700 dairy farms, down from nearly 7,400 in 2002.  Since then, New York has lost even more dairy farms, with only 5,400 today.