U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called for a review of the federal milk pricing system in order to help modernize how farmers are paid for their products. 

Gillibrand's push to have the U.S. Government Accountability Office review the pricing system dovetails with a bill she introduced that would make changes to how farmers are compensated. 

Dairy pricing is a complex process that leaves farmers in the U.S. at the whims of a variety of market forces — both domestic and international. Prices can vary widely from season to season, leaving uncertainty for farmers. 

“Our current milk pricing system is wholly inadequate and nearly a century out of date,” Gillibrand said. “Volatile milk pricing and industry consolidation, among other factors, have left thousands of family farmers with no choice but to leave the dairy industry entirely. It is time for comprehensive reform. We need a system that fairly compensates our dairy farmers, reflects the modern marketplace, and puts power back in farmers’ hands. I urge the GAO to rapidly provide the requested information so that we can begin to create a system that works for New York’s small farmers.”

With 3,500 dairy farms, New York is the fifth largest dairy-producing state in the country. 

Gillibrand's proposal would have the U.S. Department of Agriculture hold hearings on the milk pricing issue and allow producers and industry officials to review plans to make changes to skim milk pricing.