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Published July 31, 2009, 07:27 AM

USDA will aid struggling dairy farms

The Agriculture Department is helping struggling dairy farmers by raising the price paid for milk and cheddar cheese through a dairy price support program.

By: Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Agriculture Department is helping struggling dairy farmers by raising the price paid for milk and cheddar cheese through a dairy price support program.

The department estimates the increases will boost dairy farmers' overall revenue by $243 million. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the price increase will provide immediate relief and keep dairy farmers on the farm while they weather what he called "one of the worst dairy crises in decades."

Many dairy farms around the country have been in danger of closing as milk prices have hit lows and operational costs have skyrocketed. The department says it is reviewing dairy policy to determine what changes are needed.

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