Alexandria Echo Press

With the price of milk and dairy products falling sharply, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar has called for action to help stabilize prices and protect Minnesota’s farmers.

In a recent letter to the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Klobuchar and more than 30 other senators urged the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately enact measures to address the problem of abrupt price drops.

“Farmers are especially vulnerable during these tough economic times,” said Klobuchar. “Across Minnesota, dairy farmers are struggling as a result of this economic crisis. We need to provide immediate and targeted support to stabilize prices and help dairy farmers who are hurting.”

Falling prices of dairy products, combined with unusually high costs and a drop-off in international demand due to the global economic crisis have imperiled the dairy industry, Klobuchar said.

The price of cheese has dropped 40 percent in a little more than a month.

In the letter, the senators urged the USDA to:

--More effectively implement the Dairy Product Price Support Program (DPPSP) to restore stability and clear oversupplies in the market.

--Direct adequate resources toward timely and efficient inspection of dairy commodities purchased through the DPPSP.

--Consider additional dairy purchases for distribution through the USDA commodity-based nutrition programs.

--Examine ways to more formally utilize the Dairy Export Incentive Program.