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FarmFirst Dairy Urges Congress to Help Dairy Farmers
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/25/2020

The Madison-based FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is asking federal lawmakers to explore every option available to provide financial and legislative support to the nation's dairy farmers during the Coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to members of Congress, FarmFirst Board President John Rettler explained that many struggling dairy producers were looking for 2020 to be the year of improved milk prices and financial recovering until the virus caused havoc on the economy.

"Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, all of that optimism has disappeared, and now farmers are simply looking for ways to ensure their milk continues to get picked up in the coming weeks as the situation continues to play out," Rettler said.

The group is also pushing for the re-opening of the production history sign-up in the Dairy Margin Coverage program, which would allow for additional dairy product purchases for food banks, and providing compensation for milk disposal.

"At the time of the 2020 Dairy Margin Coverage sign-up, everyone had a much different perspective on how dairy markets would fare throughout the next year," said Co-op General Manager Jeff Lyon. "In a matter of a few weeks, the prices have plummeted, completely changing the perspective for dairy farmers who now need to utilize these same margin protection tools to keep their businesses afloat through this challenging time."

Leaders of the cooperative say they are also working with other farm organizations, such as the Midwest Dairy Coalition and National Milk Producers Federation, in discussing what types of assistance would best serve dairy farmers during the crisis.

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