Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry held its third hearing this month to review the economic conditions facing the dairy industry.  Subcommittee Chairman David Scott of Georgia called today's hearing to continue to hear from producers across the country about the steep decline in milk prices since 2007, and the effects those prices are having on the dairy industry.

"This month's hearings have demonstrated that we have just about as many different points of view on dairy policy as we have dairy producing regions of this country," Chairman Scott said.  "Nevertheless, last week, we were able to make progress in agreeing to some basic points, which shows that our ideas about where dairy policy should go are not irreconcilable.  While there is a tremendous amount of work to be done in developing a broader consensus on many of the issues facing the dairy industry, I feel that this series of hearings has laid the groundwork upon which we can build for the future."

Dairy producers from all across America, representing farms and cooperatives large and small, appeared before the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Subcommittee the Subcommittee this month to discuss the effects of low fluid milk prices on their operations.  Over the last three weeks, 20 witnesses have appeared before the Subcommittee, including producers, processors, exporters, government administrators, and two Members of Congress in whose districts the dairy industry plays a significant economic role.

Farm milk prices have been declining sharply in 2009 while feed costs for dairy producers remain high.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects the price will decline later this year to its lowest annual average since 1979.

Written testimony provided by the witnesses for all three dairy hearing is available on the Committee Web site: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/index.html. A full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee Web site at a later date.

Wiitnesses included:  Craig Lang, president, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and member of the Board of Directors of American Farm Federation, Brooklyn, Iowa;  W. Anthony Bostwick, CEO, Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Stores, on behalf of Braum's and the American Independent Dairy Alliance, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Joaquin Contente, dairy farmer, and president, California Farmers Union, Hanford, Calif.;  Walter M. Guterbock, veterinarian and manager, Columbia River Dairy and Sixmile Land and Cattle Company, Boardman, Ore.; Melissa L. Hughes, General Council, CROPP Cooperative, LaFarge, Wis.; Gordon M. Cook, Jr., dairy producer, and member of the Board of Directors of Holstein USA, Inc., Hadley, Mass., and Thomas M. Suber, president, U.S. Dairy Export Council, Arlington, Va.

Source: U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee.