Diary Farmers Need Moola

Texas dairy farmers say their industry is in crisis with some producers losing up to thousands of dollars per day. Their economic challenges were the topic of a hearing on Capitol Hill. Sara Sciammacco has more from Washington.

Texas farmers watched milk prices drop by 30 percent in the last year. Brad Bouma is the president of the marketing co-op Select Milk Producers in Plainview. He wants congressional lawmakers to offer some relief.

"It doesn't make a difference if you milk a hundred cows or three thousand cows. A hundred-plus dollars a cow/month in losses cannot be tolerated by this industry."

Witnesses at the hearing called on the federal government to overhaul the milk pricing system – and raise the minimum price to help weather the bad economic times. Texas Republican Mike Conaway was short on solutions, and criticized his colleagues for not doing anything.

"I hope to be part of the process that actually gets to the specifics as opposed to just swapping slobber back with each other about how wonderful we are but how much we care and those kinds of things. It is a bit frustrating I suspect to the guys out there that hear all this pontificating and no actions."

Texas is home to 680 dairy farms. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack proposes helping farmers by offering low interest rate loans and deferring payments on outstanding loans.

From Capitol News Connection Sara Sciammacco KUHF-Houston Public Radio News