California Dairy Farmers Split Over Milk Payments In Farm Bill

The food business isn’t simple.

Congress is debating a multibillion-dollar farm bill, the massive spending bill that comes up every five years. A section in the Senate bill passed today would overhaul the way the government buys milk from dairy farmers during tough times. Dairy farmers say the government’s current price is way below what it costs to produce a gallon of milk.

Over the past few years, feed costs have skyrocketed, and many farmers have taken out multiple loans just to stay afloat. Take dairyman Case van Steyn, who runs a 1,000-cow dairy in Galt, Calif. His family has been in the dairy business for 50 years.

“If you listen to the experts, a lot of people say things will improve fall or by early next year — but those kind of comments have been made before,” van Steyn says.