Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) says a recently released report by the Government Accounting Office shows that retail prices of milk go up quickly when prices paid to farmers rise but do not go down at the same
rate when prices paid to farmers fall.
Specter said this finding and others in the report comprise "a first step in finding solid solutions to the disparities that currently exist in milk pricing. Pennsylvania farmers have been unduly punished by thse fluctuations. It is time to correct the inequities to protect Pennsylvania's economy and these farmers livelihood."
Specter, a senior member of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee,
stressed in a Jan. 31 news release three other findings of the report entitled “Dairy Industry: Information on Milk Prices, Factors Affecting Prices, and Dairy
• Between October 2000 and May 2004, the price spread between what farmers were paid for their milk
and what consumers paid in retail prices increased in 12 of the 15 markets examined;
• In the 15 markets examined, processors and retailers received more of the retail dollar than
those farmers who produced the milk during that same time period;
• GAO indicates that the MILC program has helped farmers, especially small farmers in business.
Additionally, the MILC program may have resulted in lower dairy product prices for consumers.