WASHINGTON â€“ Yesterday, Congressman Bill Owens praised Upstate New York dairy farmers as a resolution passed the floor of the House of Representatives supporting the goals of National Dairy Month. Owens is a cosponsor of the resolution.
â€œOur dairy farmers are still struggling a full year after milk prices hit historic lows, and they need everyoneâ€™s support if we are to continue down the path of economic recovery,â€ Owens said. â€œThis resolution represents Washingtonâ€™s support for our farming community. Congress must now back up their support by giving our dairy farmers the tools they need to expand and thrive.â€
H.Res. 1368 supports the goals of National Dairy Month, recognizes the dairy industryâ€™s important role in the economic and nutritional wellbeing of Americans, and commends dairy farmers for their hard work and commitment to the U.S. economy and to the preservation of modern farms and open spaces.
â€œDairy farming is a business with its own set of unique needs and challenges, and these farmers deserve our help and support,â€ Owens added. â€œThe work they do in Upstate New York shows a strong commitment to our communityâ€™s health and economic development.â€
In May, Owens was named to the House Committee on Agriculture. This is the first time in over one hundred years that many areas of New Yorkâ€™s 23rd Congressional District have been represented on the Agriculture Committee. There are approximately 6,800 dairy farms across the state of New York, which ranks third nationwide in milk production.
In his first few months in office, Owens has fought tirelessly for local agriculture interests. In January, he pressed U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to protect Upstate dairy from the negative effects a U.S.-New Zealand trade agreement would have on the industry. Owens also fought to keep the Market Access Program (MAP) funded at its highest level to help local farmers finance promotional activities for their products overseas.
Owens is currently working to address the financial challenges that many farms face as a result of the recession by ensuring access to credit through the USDA Farm Service Agencyâ€™s loan guarantees and direct loans.