OK dairy farmers, it’s now up to you!
Do you as a dairy farmer really think the margin insurance program will help you to manage your farm in a more efficient way? Well, let’s look at it realistically! The Secretary of Agriculture announced on Jan. 12 that slightly over 23,000 dairy farmers signed up for the margin insurance program. Now however, nearly one half of those producers signed up for the minimum coverage of $4 per hundred weight (cwt). Allegedly, there are 46,000 dairy farmers in the United States. These figures mean that between 34-35,000 dairy farmers did not sign up for the program, or took only the minimum coverage. This is a long ways from being a real exciting support for the program.
Rep. Collin Peterson, (D-MN) announced that dairy farmers now will be able to manage their farms better, and consumers will see less fluctuation in prices in the grocery stores. Has anyone told Mr. Peterson that all dairy farmers are still going to be paid under the same ill-fated formula that they have for many years? Has anyone told the members of Congress that nearly 50 percent of the cost on a dairy farm will not be affected by the margin insurance program? Has anyone told the Congress that milk prices will still be unstable in the grocery stores? It is time dairy farmers get stirred up and realize your cost on your farms will not be covered on a continued basis until you dairymen begin to support a new pricing formula based on the national average cost of production.
Many of you dairymen should contact Mr. Peterson and other members of Congress in Washington and tell them that dairy farmers need a new pricing formula now. Also, it’s time for dairy farmers to put their support behind a sound milk supply management program that makes sense and is very manageable. No, we don’t need a program that is communistic-styled, as Congressman John Boehner tried to imply in the Farm Bill.
What dairy farmers need is a milk supply management program that does not tell dairy farmers how much milk to produce, but if there is too much milk produced, the dairy farmers can take care of the surplus milk if they receive a fair, stable price for their milk. This program along with a new pricing formula will enable dairy farmers to adequately manage their dairy farms. In addition to these courses of action, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) has indicated his distrust of the school lunch program. Every dairy farmer should contact the Senator and strongly recommend that a first step is to place whole milk in all of our schools. This is a must! Also, our advertising agencies should stop pushing low-fat milk instead of whole milk. The large majority of dairy farmers have exhibited their distrust for the margin insurance programs; now it is time for these same dairy farmers to stand up and support some worthwhile changes in dairy policies before it’s too late. It’s all up to you dairy farmers!
Pro-Ag can be reached at 570-833-5776.
Arden Tewksbury, Manager, Pro-Ag