FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 7, 2009
Contact: Jake Rubin
KAGEN PROVIDES AID TO DAIRY FARMERS
(WASHINGTON, DC) Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. is protecting Wisconsin’s dairy industry and our farm families. Kagen played an active role in shaping the Conference Report on the Agriculture Appropriations Bill which passed today. This bill includes aid to dairy farmers.
“This will get money directly into the pockets of our dairy farmers,” said Kagen. “Many of our farms are family-owned small businesses. This will help these families during these uncertain economic times. As we take action to put our economy on the road to recovery, I am working hard to sustain the industries that are the backbone of our communities in Northeast Wisconsin.”
An agreement was reached between House and Senate negotiators last week for the Agriculture Appropriations bill to include $350 million in aid to the dairy industry. The compromise calls for $290 million to be distributed to dairy farmers under a process to be determined by the United States Department of Agriculture. $60 million will also be allocated to buy cheese and other dairy products to reduce surpluses that have drive down farmer’s income. Today’s action is the final step to passing the Agriculture Appropriations Bill.
Last week, Kagen met with representatives of Wisconsin’s agriculture community to discuss the conditions affecting the local dairy industry. Congressman Kagen is the only Wisconsin member of Congress serving on the House Committee on Agriculture, and he is on the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry.
“We are very proud of Wisconsin’s heritage as America’s Dairyland. I want to thank Senator Herb Kohl and Congressman Dave Obey for their leadership in this effort. Together, we will preserve our dairy farms for future generations,” said Kagen.
During fiscal year 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency has made more than $143 million in MILC payments to Wisconsin farmers. Kagen fought for a provision in the 2008 Farm Bill to include feed prices as part of the calculation for MILC payments
Congressman Kagen and other members of the House Dairy Caucus met with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week to discuss what can be done to help the dairy industry. Kagen made recommendations to Secretary Vilsack for how the $290 million for dairy farmers should be disbursed.