Release: Sanders Fights for Vermont Dairy Farmers

WASHINGTON, July 10 – Calling depressed prices for struggling Vermont dairy farmers unsustainable, Sen. Bernie Sanders said today he would continue to fight for a boost in price supports. He also met this week with the head of the Justice Department antitrust division to explore concerns about dairy industry concentration.

Sanders (I-Vt.) met Thursday with Assistant Attorney General Christine A. Varney, the head of the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

“We are talking to the attorney general's office regarding antitrust activity and issues of concentration of ownership among processors and the lack of competition,” Sanders said today. 

One company, Dean Foods, processes approximately 70 percent of New England’s fluid milk.  In addition to concerns about the concentration of ownership in the milk processing industry, a related issue is the inability of dairy farmers to get a fair price for their product. 
Sanders also discussed dairy issues this week with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We are going to continue to fight to raise MILC price supports for struggling dairy farmers,” the senator said. “We will keep fighting to raise those payments, which would greatly help Vermont’s dairy farmers in the short term.”

Earlier this year, Sanders and Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch attempted to raise payments to dairy farmers as part of the economic stimulus package.  The Vermont delegation will continue to work together on behalf of dairy farmers.

“The low milk prices that Vermont dairy farmers are now receiving are unsustainable,” Sanders said. “If this continues, we will be losing more and more farms, which would be a disaster for our state.”