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September 21, 2012 05:55 PM

Farm Bill Impasse Affects Dairy Farmers

A financial safety net that helps dairy farmers expires at the end of the month because Congress cannot agree on a new Farm Bill.  It's called the Milk Income Loss Contract that pays farmers when milk prices plummet like they did earlier this year.
 
There's frustration by the gallon among South Dakota dairy farmers with no farm bill on the horizon.

"You know, do something! Get something done," Baltic dairy farmer Lynn Boadwine said.

Boadwine's Baltic dairy operation produces 16,000 gallons of milk a day.

"I've got a lot of commitments and there's really no way out but to stay in it," Boadwine said.

This year's drought is forcing dairy farmers to pay twice as much to feed their livestock.

"And we don't want to decimate an industry that provides food for our country over a period of a few short months," Boadwine said.

Dairy farmers would like to see Congress approve some type of revenue insurance much like other farmers who get crop insurance.  In exchange, dairy producers would try to ensure a stable milk supply so your grocery bills don't skyrocket.

"If we don't want to have wild swings in demand, we've got to keep our prices reasonably priced so consumers keep buying," Boadwine said.

Milk prices have been steadily on the rise lately, but not enough to suddenly turn the dairy industry into a cash cow.

Boadwine says uncertainty among dairy producers makes it difficult for them to increase their herds to meet the demand of a growing cheese industry in South Dakota.

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