The head of the USDA says they are working to improve the plight of farmers, but beyond $760-million in new farm loans, did not seem to offer much in the way of concrete fixes. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was at a rural community forum near La Crosse Thursday as part of President Obama's rural tour. On the minds of many participants were milk prices, currently much lower than the cost of production.
Jan morrow, a dairy farmer from Cornell, said the government needs to increase price support payments, or many farmers will be giving up. "Right now, I have gone behind so bad, I need thirty dollar milk for a good three years to dig out of the hole."
Vilsack says he's aware of the concerns. "I've talked to farmers who's loved ones have committed suicide over this," said Vilsack. "I do undertsand." After the forum, vilsack said they've been considering other possibilities, including restructuring loans, providing higher support payments on a temporary basis, and working longer term to smooth out the boom-bust price cycle.