Giving Dairy A Helping Hand

Giving Dairy A Helping Hand

Giving Dairy A Helping Hand. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

As the dairy industry continues to struggle a number of efforts are being put into place to help bolster prices and demand. Dan Newhouse, Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture along with Oregon Ag Director Katy Coba recently endorsed a national proposal to boost milk prices and keep Northwest dairy farms in business. Newhouse says along with these programs to purchase more dairy products others are working from the other side.

NEWHOUSE: The industry itself has the CWT program, Cooperatives Working Together where they have had a lot of effort and great degree of success in matching the number of cows to the demand of the milk and milk products. They’ve got a ways to go but the industry is working hard on doing that and we felt that was best left to the industry.

It is important to look at the whole picture in case one action might have a negative reaction on another part of the industry as Newhouse explains.

NEWHOUSE: To the dairyman’s credit they did not want their problem solved at the expense of another segment of the industry, specifically the livestock industry by forcing a lot of cows out on the slaughter market and in turn depress beef prices. They did not think that was an alternative they wanted to pursue.

Newhouse and Coba had met locally with dairy industry officials to formulate some ideas and then took it to the national level.

NEWHOUSE: Katy and I along with the rest of our colleagues around the country met in September at our National Ag Directors Association meeting. As you know dairies around the country are experiencing the same financial difficulties so there has been an effort to try to address that. We brought the results of our meeting to that meeting and the proposal that came out of NASDA that was then forwarded to Congress and Secretary Vilsack essentially mirrored what our basic tenets were of removing product from the market.

Under the NASDA plan, USDA would purchase 75 million pounds of cheese and other dairy products aimed to support a market milk price of $16 per hundredweight, which would cover the cost of production. If needed, USDA would make two additional, similar-sized purchases of dairy products over a 120-day period to maintain the $16 target price.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.


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