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Reps. Molinaro & Pingree Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Organic Dairy Farmers Make Smart Financial Decisions & Provide For Their Family

Washington, DC – U.S. Reps. Marc Molinaro (R-NY-19) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME 1), members of the House Agriculture Committee, today announced the introduction of the Organic Dairy Data Collection Act. This bipartisan bill supports organic dairy farmers in Upstate New York by enhancing data collection at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), allowing the agency and farmers to better understand the costs associated with producing organic milk. 

Rep. Molinaro said, "The USDA collects pricing and production cost data so dairy farmers can have access to competitive markets, keep a pulse on industry challenges, account for feed costs, and make accurate decisions with reliable information. Unfortunately, this same data isn’t available to organic dairy farmers. New York is one of the top states in organic production and during my farm bill listening sessions I heard firsthand from organic dairy farmers about the uncertainty they experience. I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Organic Dairy Data Collection Act to give organic farmers the data they need to make smart decisions for their farm and family."

Rep. Pingree said, “International trade challenges, adverse weather, and skyrocketing organic feed costs have created a dire economic situation for organic dairy farmers across the U.S. These unsustainable circumstances could lead to farm closures, reduced competition, and ultimately, limited consumer choice. These unique challenges require tailored solutions. My and Congressman Molinaro’s bipartisan Organic Dairy Data Collection Act will ensure USDA can better understand and address the challenges organic dairies face. As the Agriculture Committee and I continue our work on the upcoming Farm Bill, I am hopeful we can include this targeted solution to support the organic dairy sector and strengthen the role of organics in the marketplace for years to come.”

Specifically, the bipartisan Organic Dairy Data Collection Act:

  • Directs USDA to collect and publish cost-of-production data for organic milk, including the costs of major organic feedstuffs, domestically produced or imported. 
  • Directs USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to gather and report monthly data about the amounts that organic dairy farmers are being paid for organic milk. 
  • Directs USDA NASS, the Economic Research Service (ERS) or Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to publish reports on the cost of production data by state, regional data on the quantity of organic milk production and prices.

Katie Baildon, Policy Manager for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Inc. (NOFA-NY) said, “As organic dairies navigate an increasingly challenging market with rapidly rising costs of production, having access to relevant market data is essential for making sound business decisions. This bill creates more transparency in the collection and reporting of cost and production data that will not only better inform producers and processors, but will also enable USDA to address the specific needs of organic dairies. NOFA-NY is grateful to Congressman Molinaro and Congresswoman Pingree for working to advance this important legislation.”  

Adam Warthesen, Senior Director of Government and Industry Affairs for Organic Valley said, “We applaud House Agriculture Committee members, Representative Marc Molinaro and Representative Chellie Pingree for offering this bill that improves regional organic dairy data collection and reporting. Having better visibility on organic feed costs is something we hear about from our dairy farmers nationwide, including our 192 farmers in New York.  This bill does not have a significant cost but it can enable USDA to offer improved information that helps farmers compare production costs and be grounded in how inputs, like feedstuffs, are trending for organic dairy.  This is information that already exists for non-organic dairy so we’re looking to provide complimentary organic specific content.”

The Organic Dairy Data Collection Act is also supported by the Organic Trade Association, Organic Farmers Association, National Organic Coalition, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, and Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance.