Task Force Recommends Milk Price Safety Net

US - A task force charged with finding long-term ways to help the state's dairy industry has called for an income-tax credit for farmers when milk prices fall below their production costs
calendar icon 16 November 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

The 17-member panel - comprised of legislators, administration officials, dairy processors and farmers - began meeting in July. It grew out of a petition from the state's roughly 185 remaining dairy farms after prices plummeted to record lows last year.

"By far, this exceeded the task we were given," said acting Agricultural Commissioner Scott Soares, panel chairman. "We found some viable long-term solutions that I think bode well for the future of the dairy industry."

The tax credit plan, based on a South Carolina model, is designed as a safety net to help farmers during what is seen as a three-to-five-year cycle. Unlike the South Carolina plan, however, there would be no minimum production requirement and would allow farmers to include a share of their "unpaid labor" costs toward calculation of production costs, an important consideration for small family farms.

The payout limit for the program would be $4 million a year, based on the "probable worst case scenario" that was approximated last year, when the state provided $3.6 million in relief payments.

Source: Amherst Bulletin

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