AURELIUS, N.Y. — A Farm Bill federal program that Central New York dairy farmers rely on is in “limbo” as the program is set to expire this fall.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) on Wednesday discussed the situation with officials at Cayuga Milk Ingredients in the town of Aurelius, near Auburn, in Cayuga County.
It’s called the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program. The program’s expiration could have farmers facing what Schumer’s office described as a “dairy cliff,” or an outcome that could “double wallop” farmers and consumers.
Schumer explained that the 2018 Farm Bill enacted the DMC, which offers monthly price-support payments from the federal government to dairy farmers. It will end in September. If lawmakers take no action before then, it would mean less support for farmers, “severe” supply chain disruptions, and an increase in the price of milk, Schumer’s office contends.
As Congress begins negotiations for this year’s Farm Bill, the Democrat is now launching a new push to protect the program to ensure Upstate dairy farmers “have the support and safety net they need.”
“Cayuga County is the beating heart of Upstate New York’s dairy industry, and our farmers by the end of this year could be looking over a ‘dairy cliff’ that threatens lifeline payments, puts the industry in limbo, and increase the price of milk,” Schumer said. “The Dairy Margin Coverage Program is essential support for our farmers, which keeps milk flowing to major employers like Cayuga Milk Ingredients, and the best quality milk made from New York farms flowing to families across America.”
Schumer explained that the Farm Bill is usually enacted every five to seven years. The current Farm Bill, which was approved in 2018, is set to expire on Sept. 30 of this year.