The Missouri Dairy Association (MDA) has asked Gov. Jay Nixon for emergency relief for Missouri's dairy producers.

"A group of our members met with the Governor today and presented our request for a one-time emergency payment from federal stimulus money of $2 per hundredweight on January through June milk production from Missouri's 2,000+ dairy producers," says Larry Purdom, MDA president from Purdy, Mo.

"The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) of the University of Missouri estimates this one-time emergency payment to be $16.48 million.  Missouri currently has 110,000 cows with an economic impact of $ 13,737 per cow or $1.5 billion.

"Our dairy producers are facing an economic crisis unlike anything we have seen in the last 25 years.  Dairy farm prices have fallen to less than half of our production costs in the last six months.  We have been losing an average of $5 per hundredweight since January due to the declining demand for dairy products due to the sagging economy here in the U.S. and abroad," says Purdom.

"Other states are already stepping up to help their dairy farmers.  Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine and Vermont have made financial commitments and a request has been made for $60 million in New York State.

"Dairy producers are price-takers, not price-makers and thus this decline has been beyond their control," says Dave Drennan, MDA Executive Director.  "This has put a severe financial crunch on Missouri's dairy families.  Now they face financing drying up, bills piling up, and fall harvest coming on sooner than expected.

"This one-time emergency payment would help keep a local milk supply in Missouri and provide an immediate economic stimulus to Missouri's rural economy," says Drennan.  "It could mean an impact of $11 5.36 million to $164.8 million to the state.

"Missouri is a milk-deficit state now and imports about 1.7 billion pounds of milk to satisfy all of the needs of our consumers.  Without the Governor's immediate action, this deficit will continue to expand greatly and Missouri's consumers and economy will suffer," concludes Drennan.

Source: Missouri Dairy Association