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Milk price drop hurting farmers

May 15, 2018 12:23 pm
Madison Iszler reports in the Albany Times Union that the price of a gallon of milk is the lowest since 2004, and that is not good for dairy farmers. Over that time, New York lost more than 1,200 licensed dairy farms, or 19 percent fewer farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Things have gotten so bad on dairy farms that this winter Agri-Mark, a dairy co-op, sent a list of suicide hotlines and mental health programs to its members with the news that milk prices are expected to go lower. And now the New York Farm Bureau will hold three stress management seminars for farmers this spring, with NY FarmNet, an Ithaca-based organization that provides support services for the agriculture industry. FarmNet outreach director Hal McCabe says, "The cases that are coming in from dairy farms are dire, and the depression and stress is readily apparent in the calls." Andrew Novakovic, who teaches agricultural economics at Cornell University explains, "We're much more exposed to the ups and downs of global markets than was the case for most of the 20th century.... We have more milk than we know what to do with, and demand is not as robust." New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wants to introduce a "price floor" minimum in the new Farm Bill. "Historically low milk prices are creating a crisis for our farmers and dairy communities, and Congress needs to fix this problem now," she said in a statement. Read the full story in the Albany Times Union.