Six PA Congressmen Nominate Erick Coolidge for Dairy Advisory Role

Sep 28, 2009

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, joined five of his Pennsylvania Congressional colleagues today to nominate Erick Coolidge, of Tioga County, to the Dairy Advisory Committee, being created within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, (USDA).
“Since this past January, dairy farm profits are nearly half what they were in 2008,” said Thompson. “The expenses of dairy producers are nearly twice as much as their profits, leaving many small farms across the country struggling to stay in business.  In addition to previous actions attempting to raise dairy prices, USDA is forming a new Dairy Advisory Committee, which will work directly with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  Coolidge is a great candidate for a position on the committee.  He is a longtime dairy producer and currently a Tioga County Commissioner.  He has also served in various capacities in many agriculture and dairy organizations in Pennsylvania.”

In the joint letter, Thompson and the legislators commented, “Because agriculture in general - and the dairy industry in particular - is so important to our state’s economy and the wellbeing of so many families throughout the Commonwealth, we believe that it is imperative that Pennsylvania has adequate representation on this Committee. We additionally believe that Mr. Erick Coolidge is the best fit candidate for the position.

“He (Coolidge) is a fourth generation dairy farmer with nearly 45 years of experience in the industry both on and off the farm,” the letter stated.

The legislators concluded, “Mr. Coolidge has vast expertise in the dairy industry and will be a valuable asset to the Advisory Committee.  We look forward to working with Secretary Vilsack and the Department of Agriculture for immediate strategies that address the current dairy crisis, while simultaneously identifying and implementing long-term improvements to the pricing system.”

According to USDA, the purpose of the new committee is to review the issues of farm milk price volatility and dairy farmer profitability and to provide suggestions and ideas to Secretary Vilsack on how USDA can best address these issues to meet the dairy industry’s needs.

Thompson joined fellow Pennsylvania legislators Jim Gerlach, Joe Pitts, Bill Shuster, Todd Platts and Charles Dent in nominating Coolidge.

If appointed, Coolidge will serve a 2-year term as part of a 15-member group representing industry, producers and their organizations, consumers, academia, retailers and state agencies involved in dairy.

USDA’s nomination period ends at the close of business today.