02.08.00

SCHUMER: DAIRY COMPACT NECESSARY FOR SURVIVAL OF NEW YORK'S DAIRY INDUSTRY

Compacts "Help Farm Families Remain Healthy and Strong"

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today submitted the following statement regarding the Dairy Compact to a hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee:

"I continue to believe in the necessity of the Dairy Compact for the Northeast as well as anywhere else farmers are in need of decent commodity prices in order to stay in business. The intention of these Compacts is to ensure dairy farmers a minimum price for their products and to help farm families remain healthy and strong in this era of low farm prices.

"New York dairy farmers' incomes are currently at their lowest levels since 1978 and 1,500 New York dairy farms have been forced out of business since November 1997, due largely to wide fluctuations in the price of milk.

"The purpose of the Dairy Compact is to stabilize farmers' income and enable them to budget accurately and plan for the future. Farmers must have stable prices in order to manage their business and stay afloat.

"Compacts do not cause drastic price increases or overproduction of milk. In New England, the price of milk under the Compact has never been more than 4 cents higher than the national average, an increase of about $3.20 $4 per family per year. In contrast, Florida, which does not have a Compact, has lost so many dairy farms that Floridians now pay up to 40 cents more per gallon of milk transported by truck from the Midwest.

"Last year, Congress passed Option 1A, a nationwide milk pricing plan. Without the Option 1A program, New York farmers would have lost $30 million every year and its passage represents an important first step in supporting dairy farmers.

"Our dairy farms are family businesses, and the very backbone of rural life in Upstate New York. The Dairy Compact is necessary to preserve a rapidly disappearing way of life."

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