Congress passed $350 million in aid (including $290 in direct payments) for struggling dairy farmers last week, and the bill now awaits President Obama’s signature. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has not yet announced how it plans to distribute the money.

Most dairy producers will welcome any help they can get.

The aid gives hope to strapped farmers, Mechanicsurg, Ohio, dairy producer Bonnie Ayars told The Columbus Dispatch.

“When you take into account the costs associated with the animal’s health issues, the cost of feed, farm employment, and add to that a struggling economy, it’s become too difficult for farmers to survive,” she was quoted as saying.

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Source: The Columbus Dispatch

Dairy farmers are fortunate that Congress singled them out for aid when other segments of the agricultural economy have gone without. Hog producers, in particular, could use some help. And, Congress went ahead and passed the aid late last week, despite a nice rally taking place in the dairy markets. Two weeks ago, the Class III futures price (November contract) was $13.56 per hundredweight, and since that time prices have rallied, and there is the possibility the November contract could approach $15 within the next two weeks, according to Greg Scheer, dairy market analyst for Doane Advisory Services, which is owned by the same parent company as Dairy Herd Management. “Manufacturers are starting to get a little concerned about tightening milk supplies (going into the holiday season)… and that remains a bullish factor for the future,” he adds. So, everyone can be thankful that this aid package got passed under the circumstances it did.  — Tom Quaife, editor