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Let’s stop the nonsense and do something realistic for dairy farmers

Dairy farmers across the United States have had serious problems ever since the United States Congress interceded and froze the support price on dairy products at $12.60 per cwt. (hundredweight), which prevented a realistic price being paid to dairy farmers across the United States on a continued basis.

There have been so many ill-fated attempts by Congress to correct the instability facing the majority of dairy farmers across the United States, while in essence; the attempts have made the conditions worse for the large majority of our dairy farmers.

For many years, Pro-Ag and some other organizations have developed programs that would have returned a fair price to all dairy farmers as well as maintain a reasonable supply of dairy products at no direct cost to the USDA. If programs had been implemented like the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (formerly known as S-1640, or the Specter-Casey bill) then in all possibility, dairy farmer’s extreme losses experienced since 2015 would have been eliminated.

However, that was then, and this is now. Some organizations and farm groups are supporting various supply management programs which some of these efforts may be well intended. We strongly support a supply management program, but equally important is the need for a new pricing formula that would consider the dairy farmers’ cost of production!

Yes! Just like every product that is manufactured or produced, dairy farmers have a cost to produce their milk.

At the conclave held by Agri-Mark last spring in Albany, NY, I was allowed to survey the crowd. I asked two questions: 1) Do you favor a new pricing formula for dairy farmers based on the dairy farmer’s cost of production? 2) Do you favor a milk supply management program to keep the production of milk at a reasonable level?

When the vote was taken, a resounding, large majority of people present raised their hands in support of our questions. Why was this never reported?

Why were some organizations that were present, not supporting a new pricing formula for dairy farmers? With the present problems facing the majority of dairy farmers, this commands all of us to demand a program similar to the Specter-Casey bill.

Dairy farmers must realize that the value of milk used to convert milk into dairy products is the same value at all eleven Federal Orders. I don’t have anyone screaming that the value of that milk should be different in different areas. If we all don’t get together behind a two-pronged program, then the remaining dairy farmers will still have severe pricing and marketing problems.

Arden Tewksbury is manager of Pro-Ag.


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