Friday, October 05, 2012
When the shouting is over, whatever will serve as a Farm Bill is finally in place, and the dairy industry shakes itself out of this particular set of doldrums, I don't think you will recognize it any more. There are big, big ideas being sneaked into print in magazines and the agendas of meetings to get us used to some things that are not going to be good for us in the end. Extended shelf life will make all things possible....China is working hard to get their dairy industry off the ground. I am here to tell you there is speculation about importing dairy from China going on in high places. If that doesn't worry you.....
Between editorials I read, to which I won't link today because I don't even want to give them that much credibility, and what we are hearing from government officials, things look beyond grim. Certain editors and powerful officials want dairy farmers to accept the lowest possible prices and a do-over of both the Federal Orders and standards of identity for dairy products in order to keep people drinking milk. Of course people consume lots of milk in the form of cheese yogurt etc. but fluid milk sales give them a stick to whip us with so.....
I entirely agree that new products and new ways of serving dairy are good concepts and the pricing system is a mess, but blaming farmers for wanting to be able to make a living selling milk is ridiculous. I read years and years ago...before I was even a dairy farmer...that our own increases in efficiency would eventually kill us. That may be coming to fruition now.
As an industry we are walking away from the discussion leaving the health benefits of milk over other beverages on the table, and crying about prices being too high for consumers instead. Where are the comparisons between the price of a gallon of bubbly sugar water (soda), or even just plain water drawn from the tap and put in a fancy bottle, and a gallon of healthy, vitamin and mineral-rich, protein-filled milk? Where are the comparisons between the value of each of these to a healthy diet?
I can answer that question. They are on Facebook and Twitter being shared among farmers. Preaching to the choir.
Why is someone at DMI, which spends our mandatory check off dollars, telling us that we must accept lower prices and doctored up milk products, when they are supposed to be promoting the value of milk in the diet? That is a real puzzle. They claim to have our interests at heart, but they want to get away from the gallon jug. I wonder.
It has gotten so many farm magazines are no more than mouth pieces for processors. I shudder to think that the folks whose salaries are taken right off the top of our milk checks to pay for "promotion" are thinking the same way. I am almost glad to be at the end of a career in this industry rather than at the beginning.