ST. PAUL -- Three members of Minnesota's congressional delegation want the Obama administration to help protect dairy farmers from a financial crisis.
Prices milk producers receive have dropped 40 percent since 2014 and in May, the country's cheese stocks were at their highest level since data began to be collected in 1917.
The low prices have resulted in reduced dairy farmer income. U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, all Democrats, say the dairy industry is financially vulnerable.
"We are deeply concerned that U.S. dairy farmers, who are a key part of our agriculture community and agriculture economy, are in greater need of stability and support as they face these significantly lower prices, which for some are below their actual cost of production," the lawmakers wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "As this industry is reeling from low prices, a glut of imports, challenges in our export markets and poor economic growth projections we urge the USDA to ... look to past precedent for how to take action to protect all of our nation’s dairy farmers from further crisis and to aid in the expansion and maintenance of domestic markets."
The lawmaker trio suggests the U.S. Department of Agriculture immediately provide financial aid "while being cautious to not stimulate overproduction further."