Dairy farmers say safety net on milk prices is not helping

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) Northeast dairy farmers have been strapped for months by low milk prices. They say a voluntary insurance program promoted as a safety net when the margin between milk prices and feed costs fell below a certain amount is not helping.

An oversupply of milk in the U.S. and around the world has caused milk prices paid to farmers to fall below production costs for months.

Farmers say the margin protection program is not based on Northeast farmers' feed costs but on the national average feed cost, which is less. They say that has to change.

Vermont Rep. Peter Welch has co-sponsored legislation that would amend the Farm Bill to require the Secretary of Agriculture to use data from each state to calculate average feed costs and dairy production margins.