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September 22, 2014
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editorial

What the Dairy Industry Really Needs


By NDA's own supply projections, the Northeast will have to expand its milk production over the next 24 months by 20% of New York’s recent annual total: an additional four billion pounds—the production equivalent of 180,000 additional dairy cows! (Right... Given current conditions in the Northeast dairy industry, it’s probably best if one does not hold one’s breath awaiting this!)

An increased demand for more milk in the Northeast is not in doubt. The question is: who is going to pay for it—the NDA milk processors or the U.S. taxpayer? NDA wants the taxpayer to fund their addiction to cheap milk, but heaven forbid that the supply of it be, in anyway, interfered with! That would throttle NDA member profits!

For years U.S. dairy farmers have supported the idea that their milk price formula should reflect their production costs. Dairy farmers want their milk-checks derived from an honest price discovery of their milk. What they need is a fair, transparent USDA milk price formula that cannot be tampered with by unscrupulous milk handlers or processors. They (dairy farmers) are overwhelmingly against this taxpayer-funded dairy margin insurance scheme currently before Congress! Their opinion on this matter has been totally ignored and distorted by the management of the nation’s largest dairy cooperatives, who are lobbying hard, through the National Milk Producers Federation, for passage of the proposed 2012 Farm Bill. As milk processors themselves, co-op management has just as much to gain in taxpayer-funded cheap milk as do NDA members.

NDA members and managers of processing co-ops are determined to do whatever is necessary to insure that operations can continue without paying the region’s dairy farmers a sustainable price for their milk. They are perfectly willing to abandon the region’s destitute farmers to eke-out a continued mere meager existence, totally dependant on the charity of the U.S. taxpayer.

A prosperous dairy industry and supporting rural communities can only be maintained by financially stable dairy farms. For farms to be financially sound they need a sustainable price for their milk. A sustainable milk price is a price that reflects the farmer's legitimate production costs and a modest profit to fund a cost of living. Profit to a dairy farmer is simply take-home pay. Its been a long, long time since most of them have seen much, if any of that.

Nate Wilson
Sinclairville, NY
Chautauqua County