America’s farmers are the life line for all of us. Without farmers raising their crops and livestock, we wouldn’t have food on the table or in our bellies. What’s more disturbing is the lack of funding to help the farmers be able to make a living wage without going into debt and losing their farms to bigger conglomerate farms. You know something is seriously wrong with the farming industry when your creameries are sending out letters with suicide prevention resources with the farmer’s milk checks.
Milk prices today are at the same price they were back in 1978 and this hasn’t given farmers a fighting chance. Three years ago my parents at ages 61 and 57 had to make a decision that would change their lives forever. They chose to grow the family farm into 120 cows from 70 cows because they couldn’t afford to retire and they were still financially supporting my dad’s parents who are 92 and 86 years old and still live on the family farm. Building a new barn was the best thing in the world because it meant the herd they had in the old barn doubled their milk production just by moving them into a modern barn that promoted cow health. At the time of them considering & going through the building process the price of milk was at $22 per hundred weight. Since building 3 years ago there has been a steady drop in the price of milk. As of their last milk check posted this week the price is $14.20 per hundred weight, well below affordable price to make ends meet. As of 3 weeks ago my parents were denied funding to purchase seed corn or other supplies for this growing season which is setting them up to be foreclosed upon as early as this fall. Everyone says they can’t thank the farmer enough but when we see the price of $14.20 per hundred weight how can we feel thanked by Americans when the farmer cannot even afford to put ‘food on the table’ for our precious cows who give us the milk we sell. Milk processing plants have even gone as far as sending letters out in the milk check trying to help farmers deal with depression and anxiety because they know the farmer can’t afford to pay their bills on the milk check they are receiving.
Over the course of the last 10 years you, as ‘The Government’, have bailed out the banking industry due to failing housing market prices and predatory lending, the auto market due to failing prices in the automobile market, and several other markets. If the government and people of the United States of America say they ‘cannot do it without the farmer’ then why is the price of a gallon of milk higher than ever in the store but yet ‘in the gutter’ for the farmer? Why is the housing, banking, auto, and other industries doing very well and the economy appears to be very strong but yet the farmer that creates your meals not able to put food on their own table due to low milk prices?
What we are asking of you is this. What can the government do to augment the price of milk in the very near future (i.e. in the next 30 days as emergency relief) to help our dairy farmers of our great nation make it this growing season? We are looking to achieve $20 per hundred weight and create legislation to keep it no less than $20 so all farmers can continue doing what they love, farming!
Please take this into serious consideration. The next 60 days with the price of milk will determine whether my parents will be able to keep the 120 year old family farm and share it with their grandchildren or will they be required to liquidate the farm and be left with nothing for not only their future, but Dad’s parents’ future. Please consider this an EMERGENCY and look to create an emergency fund to help ‘bail dairy farmers out’ of this horrible situation.