September 15, 2009

Udall Fights to Aid Struggling Dairy Farmers

Dairy is Critical Industry for NM; State Ranks 7th in Dairy Production

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) today joined a half-dozen of his Senate colleagues at a press conference on Capitol Hill to express his support of the nation's struggling dairy farmers. Click here for photos of the event.

Dairy farmers in New Mexico and across the country are experiencing a financial crisis due to massive drops in the prices of dairy products. Over the last year, dairy prices have dropped as much as 40 percent from record highs – and 17 percent to 19 percent below the 10-year average. By contrast, feed prices over that same period decreased by only 8 percent.

To stem the losses, Udall and his fellow senators are working together to find short- and long-term solutions to the crisis in a way that supports all regions of the country. This effort includes securing the expansion of the dairy price support program by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and passing a $350 million amendment for dairy price support in the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill.

"Farmers in New Mexico, the west, and around the country are suffering right now from a widespread dairy crisis that is severely hurting our state and national economy," Udall said. "In Western states like New Mexico, our dairies and our farming families need additional help to simply stay alive and I'm committed to working with them to develop long-term solutions to help this critical industry."

New Mexico is the seventh-largest dairy producing state in the country, with $1.2 billion in direct economic impact and $2.6 billion total economic impact for the state each year. The dairy industry provides a job for every 100 cows directly, and indirectly provides over 17,000 New Mexico jobs.

Other Senators in attendance were: Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Charles Schumer (D-NY); Robert Casey Jr. (D-PA); Amy Klobuchar, (D-MN); Patrick Leahy (D-VT); and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).