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Schumer: Vital Payments for Dairy Farmers Extended for Another Year

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With it set to expire this year, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said he has secured an extension for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) Program that New York dairy farmers rely on. If the program expired, Senator Schumer said it could have cut off payments to farmers and harmed consumers by raising the price of milk. Schumer secured the extension of the Farm Bill in the Continuing Resolution budget deal signed last Friday.

“Our dairy farmers are the beating heart of Upstate, and when they came to me worried that this year we could be going over the ‘dairy cliff,’ I immediately started ringing the cowbell and promised I would churn up support to ensure these payments wouldn’t lapse. I helped enact the Dairy Margin Coverage Program in the 2018 Farm Bill, and I am proud to have secured this vital year-long extension while we work to develop a bipartisan Farm Bill in the next year,” said Senator Schumer. “Today our dairy farmers can breathe a sigh of relief and raise a glass of Upstate NY-made milk and more thoroughly enjoy this Thanksgiving.”

Schumer explained the “dairy cliff” refers to the expiration of the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program, a risk management tool that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. The dairy industry would be the first impacted, as dairy farmers would lose out on monthly payments through the DMC, whereas farmers participating in other support programs are paid just once per year around harvest time. Schumer added if we went “over the dairy cliff” that would have meant an end to monthly price support payments to dairy farmers who participate in the Dairy Margin Coverage program, supply chain disruptions causing increased milk prices, and potentially billions in wasted government spending as the federal government would be forced to make milk purchases at a highly inflated price.

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