Guest Editorial by Arden Tewksbury
Despite the remark made by an official of the National Milk Producer Federation when he claimed that nearly all dairy farmers enthusiastically supported the Dairy Security Act which is contained in the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill, we still contend that the average dairy farmer still wants a new pricing formula that covers the dairy farmer’s cost of production. Recent reports from California indicate that a number of people in California are growing more concerned that present pricing formulas used to price milk are just not adequate.
Then why can’t dairy farmers have a price for their milk that covers their cost?
Many people seem to forget that the value of milk used for manufactured dairy products is the same in all federal orders.
As almost everyone knows now the U.S.D.A. surveys a certain number of milk manufacturing plants across the U.S. that manufacture different milk products to determine the price these plants are selling their dairy products for on the market.
However, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture determines the value of these products to determine the prices paid to dairy farmers, they subtract out a certain established fee, called a make allowance, which eliminates nearly $2.00 per cwt from the dairy farmers’ pay price. This fee is really a credit to manufacturing plants to cover their operations! If this is OK for the manufacturing plants, then why can’t the same philosophies be applied to the dairy farmers’ prices? Why not use the national average cost of production of our dairy farmers to establish the value or milk used for manufacture of dairy products?
Some say that all dairy farmers have different costs of operations. This is true, but it’s also true that manufacturing plants have a different cost of operations, but don’t they all pay the dairy farmer the same inadequate price for milk used for manufactured dairy products? (in the federal orders)
It’s time the dairy farmers require the same consideration as the milk plants.
There is much controversy over supply management for dairy farmers.
Really, a supply management plan should only be implemented when an over supply of milk is being produced. Such a program can be found in the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (Senator Casey’s S1640)
Why not give this program a try? Remember this program will be paid for by the dairy farmers that produce more milk than the market needs. If excessive milk products are manufactured they will be purchased and distributed to the needy (extra imports of unneeded dairy products would be addressed in the same program).
All dairy farmers must immediately contact your Washington Representative and Senators and tell them this is the program you need and want.
All House members can be contacted by calling (202) 225-3121 and all Senators at (202) 224-3121.
Don’t delay! It’s your future that is at stake.