02.19.99

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR APPROVAL OF DAIRY COMPACT

Senator Added as Cosponsor of Legislation to Save New York's Dairy Industry

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced his support for Congressional approval of Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact. Schumer will be listed as an original cosponsor when the legislation is introduced in the Senate.

New York's entry into the regional organization was approved in December, 1998, by the New York State Legislature, and signed by Governor Pataki yesterday.

"Low dairy prices have forced thousands of small New York dairy farmers out of business," said Schumer. "The longterm solvency of New York's dairy industry, and the lives of thousands of familyrun dairy farms across our state, relies on Congress' quick approval of the Compact. I will fight to see that this happens the livelihood of thousands of New York families depends on it."

As a member of the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact, New York dairy farmers would be protected from the continued decadeslong drop in dairy prices from $2.77 in 1960 to $1.36 (in 1997 dollars). As a result, the number of dairy farms in New York shrunk by more than 4,500 between 1987 and 1997. The Compact would have the authority to set milk prices only when the market price of milk falls below the federallymandated minimum price.

"During my visits throughout the state, I became convinced that the only way to save New York's dairy farmers is to narrow the wide fluctuations in prices that have shut down onethird of our dairy farms," Schumer said.

"The dairy compact is a fair deal for consumers and farmers. If anything, the compact will only mean a few pennies at the supermarket," said Schumer. "That is a tiny price to pay to keep local farmers in business, and New York's rural identity intact."

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