As the Senate gets set to again take up the farm bill in the coming weeks, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced Tuesday a comprehensive plan to help provide long-term support and certainty for New York’s dairy farmers.

Gillibrand’s plan is to provide a fair safety net for small producers, and improve inventory reporting and transparency. The cornerstone of Senator Gillibrand’s plan is the new, bipartisan Gillibrand-Collins Dairy Pricing Reform Act to reform the way the USDA sets dairy prices.

The farm bill that passed the Senate last fall included many programs to help New York farmers, but the House of Representatives failed to complete their work on the bill, and none of the new programs became law.

While dairy remains New York’s leading agricultural product, dairy farmers are suffering from a range of setbacks. High fuel costs, and severe grain and hay shortages continue to push up the cost of production. The price paid to farmers remains stagnant, thus putting a squeeze on farmers, preventing New York from maintaining its competitiveness among other dairy states, and holding farms back from a growing business.