GREENWALD (AP) -- Minnesota farmers are sketching proposals to prevent the closure of small dairies during a sustained slump in milk prices.

Local farmers recently gathered in Greenwald to voice concerns about the loss of small dairies, which face higher milk production costs.

Former University of Minnesota professor Dick Levins outlined a proposal to address the ``operating cost imbalance'' between small and large dairies. The legislation hasn't been written, but it would make emergency federal payments to farmers based on production costs.

Small dairies would receive more money per hundredweight of milk produced, while the largest dairies wouldn't receive any federal funds. The plan would cost the government roughly $2.8 billion per year.

Local farmers also discussed two long-term proposals to limit large dairies' market advantages.