AMES, Iowa — As dairy farmers are pounded by rock-bottom pay prices because of COVID-19’s economic repercussions, National Farmers, a national milk, beef and grains marketer, is calling for a moratorium on farm foreclosures, and one federal milk marketing order to help with extreme farmer financial distress.
“We cannot let market disruptions and the spread of the COVID-19 to ag and food industry employees take such a toll on farm survival,” said National Farmers President Paul Olson. “We must have a national moratorium on farm foreclosures.”
The dairy market is on the verge of collapse. More than 3.5 million gallons of milk are being disposed of on farms each day because the food service industry has largely shut down from the pandemic. To help dairy producers deal with the impossible conditions they face now, National Farmers recommends altering current marketing rules that govern dairy producer milk sales. “The Federal Milk Marketing System was established to assure orderly milk marketing. If ever we needed orderly marketing, that time is now,” Olson said.
National Farmers leaders assert, in the wake of COVID-19, it’s important to improve dairy producer income, ensure equality of price bargaining between producers and processors, and to assure consumers adequate supplies of high-quality dairy products.
“As other dairy organizations also call for a supply management system, we suggest one single federal milk marketing order would help efficiently administer those proposals,” Olson said. Under National Farmers’ plan, the current 11 federal orders would be merged into one. The proposal uses the combination of a national milk marketing order and new pricing premiums to add value to the first 1 million pounds per month produced by all farms.
“Our plan would use a reformulation to pay an additional $4.00 per hundredweight on the first one million pounds of milk produced on America’s farms each month,” said Olson. This could immediately assist producers who face losing their farms because of the coronavirus.
National Farmers markets milk, livestock and crops for thousands of American agricultural producers. We offer six decades of experience representing farmers and ranchers, and grouping production from many ag operations. We help producers market together. National Farmers’ experienced marketing professionals negotiate on conventional and certified organic farmers’ behalf in cash and contract sales, establishing commodity sales terms with the farmers’ interests in mind.
— National Farmers