Honorable Steve Kagen, M.D.

Wisconsin's former 8th District Representative

January 4, 2007 to December 22, 2010

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Kagen Secures Help For Dairy Farmers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 31, 2009

Contact: Jake Rubin
(202) 225-5665

KAGEN  SECURES  HELP FOR DAIRY FARMERS

President Obama to raise dairy support prices

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)  Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D is bringing relief to struggling dairy farmers across Wisconsin through his efforts to raise commodity prices.  U.S Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, following multiple communications from Kagen and other members of Congress, today announced an increase in the amount paid for excess dairy products through the Dairy Product Price Support Program (DPPSP).

“I have been working hard to support our Wisconsin dairy industry and the results show.  Today, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced his support for a temporary increase in federal aid to our struggling dairy industry.  I began communicating the concerns of dairy farmers across Wisconsin to the Obama administration last January and am pleased with their decision to take the bold actions necessary to assist dairy farm families survive today’s economic emergency,” Kagen said.

“It’s time for bold actions to help our economy get back on the road to recovery. Wisconsin is an agricultural and small manufacturing economy, and I’m glad to have played an important role in securing this emergency support.”

The increase announced today will raise the price paid for nonfat dry milk from $0.80 per pound to $0.92 per pound, the price paid for cheddar blocks from $1.13 per pound to $1.31 per pound, and the price of cheddar barrels from $1.10 per pound to $1.28 per pound. This increase in the support price will have an immediate effect upon dairy farmers’ bottom line. Temporarily raising the price of these dairy products increases the price that dairy farmers receive for their milk.

The USDA estimates that today’s announcement will increase the milk price received by dairy producers.  The increase will result in the government purchase of an additional 150 million pounds of non-fat dry milk (NDM) and an additional 75 million pounds of cheese.

Congressman Steve Kagen, the only member of the Wisconsin congressional delegation on the House Committee on Agriculture, emphasized the urgency of the Secretary’s action. Wisconsin produces approximately 15% of the nation’s cheddar cheese, including more than 28 tons in May,  2009.  The USDA estimates this will raise farmer income by $243 million.

The new levels, which will be imposed as of Aug. 1st and expire after Oct. 31st. Higher product prices will translate into higher farm-level prices. The USDA estimates its action will raise farmer income by $243 million.

USDA is working with the Department of State to identify foreign assistance programs such as U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.

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