Congress failed to take action on a new Farm Bill last year, but now the Senate is prepared to make another effort to pass it.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is leading the charge to renew the Farm Bill and hopes that Republican objections in the House of Representatives have been addressed.
Gillibrand says she is focusing on priorities for the dairy industry, including making dairy pricing more accurate and competitive.
"People want to know why can't you price milk accurately that reflects the cost of feed and reflects the cost of production and the cost of fuel," Gillibrand said.
"Until we come up with a new pricing system," she said, "I think our small dairies will continue to be the hardest hit and the first hit, which is why they keep going out of business."
Gillibrand says the proposed Farm Bill includes many programs that are designed to help New York's farmers.
Many dairy farmers in New York continue to struggle with high feed costs despite new demand from upstate yogurt makers.
Gillibrand says there were nearly 65,000 fewer dairy cows in New York last year than there were in 2002.
Gillibrand says she will introduce a Senate bill that would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study different methods of determining milk prices, including competitive pay pricing.
Currently, federal marketing orders set minimum wholesale prices under a system that farmers complain can leave them producing milk at a loss.
She also supports legislation that would give farmers with 200 cows or less a guaranteed margin for their milk.
Thursday, January 29, 2015, Watertown, NY
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