Vilsack Promises To Hear Concerns Of Dairy Farmers

U. S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told struggling U. S. dairy producers on June 25 the government is looking to expand marketing opportunities for the industry, which has seen its ranks nearly cut in half during the last decade.

Vilsack, speaking at the third of five “town hall” events on anti-trust issues in agriculture that the USDA is holding with the Justice Department, said the number of U. S. dairy farms have been reduced to 65,000 from 111,000 – sparking concerns about fairness among some producers.

Vilsack told producers the government needs to increase transparency in the dairy industry and find ways to expand risk management tools.

The USDA has said U. S. cattle, hog and poultry producers will gain additional protection against unfair sales.

Among other steps, the rule would bar meatpackers from offering better prices to large feeders than smaller operators without good reason and give poultry producers more leverage in dealing with integrators who dominate the business.

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