No new news to dairy producers across the country: the industry is being hit hard by historically low prices. In this edition of the Milking Parlor, we listen in to part of the news conference Secretary of Ag Tom Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney held during a recent joint USDA-Department of Justice hearing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Vilsack pointed out that, in the last 10 years, the dairy industry has gone from 111,000 dairy farms to fewer than 65,000… and it’s not because producers got more efficient. He wants to get to the bottom of what is devastating the dairy industry. Varney says they’re looking at what role the markets, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, are playing in the price declines. But she’s not prejudging at this point and wants the hearings to run their course and show what the problem really could be. Vilsack added that, despite some reports, they don’t have a hidden agenda of reformulating the law regarding cooperatives… they just want to make sure producers are treated fairly, and rural America again becomes a great place where people want to live and work.
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