CLAREMONT, NH–Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), a member of the House Agriculture Committee, gathered dairy farmers in Claremont this week from around New Hampshire to discuss the challenges that are facing the dairy industry. Over the last year, New Hampshire dairy farmers have faced a number of significant challenges that have impacted their bottom lines and threatened the industry as a whole. The low price of milk combined with the ineffectiveness of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Margin Protection Program has created difficult conditions, forcing as many as 18 commercial farms to close their barns.
“Dairy farms in New Hampshire are facing an uphill battle as they work to overcome low milk prices, high feed costs, and historic drought,” said Kuster. “This industry makes important contributions to our state’s economy and we need to support it with commonsense, effective policies. I appreciate the opportunity to hear directly from hardworking Granite State dairy farmers about how we can do more to support their industry at the federal level.”
The dairy industry has an impact of $141 million dollars on the state and local economies, providing over 3,500 jobs and more than $19 million in labor income. The Margin Protection Program is a voluntary program that makes payments to participating farmers if their margins decrease to a certain level. This program has failed to accurately measure the costs of feed in New England, which has had an adverse effect on our dairy producers by distorting margins and limiting their participation in the program, said Kuster.
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