New Delhi, January 11, 2019: Dear President [Donald] Trump – Liquidate surplus cheese,” the American Dairy Coalition wrote this week on the behalf of U.S. dairy farmers who are in “a crisis.”
“As each week passes, an increasing number of hard-working dairy families are going out of business. Many of us feel helpless, and we struggle to support our families; some have even required food stamps to put food their tables,” the letter stated.
While the group said the recent government assistance was appreciated, the industry needs higher milk prices. “We want to become profitable, but due to the uncertainty created by lingering retaliatory tariffs, we only see a slight — if any — rebound anytime soon,” the coalition explained.
According to the group, milk prices have dropped nearly 40% over the last four years. Additionally, cheese exports from the U.S. to Mexico are down more than 10% annually, and shipments to China have fallen almost 65% annually.
“If this isn’t bad enough, the industry faces onerous and costly dairy regulations as well as a shortage of workers — making it hard to find a way each day to stay in business,” the letter added according to feedstuffs.com.
Also, despite the government seeking to offset the negative impacts of milk prices due to the tariffs set by Mexico, Canada and China, more action is needed, the coalition said.
“Currently, 1.4 billion lb. of American, cheddar and other types of cheese are sitting in cold storage facilities throughout the U.S. With the price of milk at a record low, it is necessary that this surplus be liquidated to jump-start the industry,” it said.
Further, the group pointed out that an estimate 40 million Americans struggle with hunger and food insecurity and that the U.S. dairy product industry supports nearly 3 million workers, generates more than $39 billion in direct wages each year and has an overall economic impact of more than $628 billion.
“The diets and the jobs of countless Americans depend on the success of the dairy industry to provide an important nutritional staple at an affordable price. Please help us by helping food insecure families across the nation,” the American Dairy Coalition said.
The coalition encouraged people to reach out to Congress to “stop the hemorrhaging” of the U.S. dairy industry.