O’Halleran Calls on USDA Secretary to Support AZ-01 Dairy Farmers
VILLAGE OF OAK CREEK—Yesterday, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) joined a bipartisan group of 14 lawmakers on a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, urging the agency to support dairy farmers facing economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Dairy farms are the backbone of rural economies across the country and Arizona is home to some of the finest dairy producers in the world,” said O’Halleran. “The dairy industry is facing unprecedented and extensive economic damage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The foodservice market has collapsed overnight due to closures of schools and restaurants, and export disruptions are harming milk powder demand. The decrease in demand for finished products has caused processing plants to curtail or cease operations and cancel fluid milk orders. Farmers are being forced to dump milk and milk prices are plummeting.”
Specifically, the letter urges USDA to use tools available to it to help dairy producers, such as:
- paying producers to reduce production;
- compensating producers for milk that must be dumped;
- providing capital for processors to expand their capacity and increase their inventory;
- purchasing dairy products for food banks;
- reopening the Dairy Margin Coverage Program and providing retroactive coverage;
- and working to increase international food aid.
View the full letter, HERE.
Today, Secretary Perdue spoke to Fox Business, saying,"We want to have direct payments to farmers, but more importantly ... we want to purchase as much of this milk or other protein products, hams and pork products, and move them to where they can be utilized in our food banks and possibly even international humanitarian aid."
Read about his interview, HERE.
“I am encouraged by the Secretary’s comments,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “I will continue to closely monitor the situation and hold the USDA accountable to hardworking Arizona dairy farmers.”