Agriculture Secretary Vilsack acknowledges challenges facing dairy industry

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that the federal government is doing what it can to assist dairy operators through one of the milk industry's worst downturns in years.

Nationwide, the dairy industry has struggled for months with weak demand, low prices and sluggish exports.

In remarks to The Bee's Editorial Board, Vilsack said the USDA has boosted the dairy industry by increasing the price-support program, buying products to be used in the school lunch program and making exporting easier.

Today in Modesto, he will take part in a town hall meeting. Vilsack has been hit with questions about the dairy industry's troubles at every one of his first 17 stops nationwide.

And he likely will hear from more dairy operators in Modesto. California, led by Tulare County, is the nation's top milk producer.

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