Dairy farmers are struggling for survival right now - why?

February 2009

Dear Hilde,

I've been hearing that dairy farmers are in real trouble in my state, yet am surprised to see that milk prices have remained more or less the same at the grocery store. What's the story?

Thanks,

Gary E.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Hi Gary,

Crisis has hit the dairy industry and hit it hard. While small dairies, like the majority of those found in Wisconsin, are most vulnerable to fluctuations in the market, the dairy crisis is being felt across the nation, in every region and on every farm. You are right to think that such a collapse in the industry would at least translate into lower consumer costs at the supermarket. Yet, as you've noticed, milk prices have hardly begun to budge.

The simple story behind the dairy crisis is that the industry is drowning in milk, the result of a catastrophic convergence of factors beyond farmer control. The global economic downturn has significantly soured demand for milk and milk products; farmers are struggling to pay bills from record high feed and fuel costs this past summer; adequate credit is increasingly impossible to come by; and, to top things off, the price of milk paid to farmers by processors collapsed a record 30% in January alone, and 50% since July. With little relief in sight, the price of milk is projected to continue this decline throughout 2009 before making even a slight recovery.

To pull this into perspective: a hundred weight (cwt) of fluid milk, about 11.8 gallons, is currently selling for as low as $9, but just to break even a dairy farmer needs to make at least $20-25.

Then comes the part of the story that doesn't make much sense.

Despite the disastrous circumstances for dairy farmers described thus far, the consumer price for milk has remained largely the same. That's because, unlike other commodities, the price of milk paid to a farmer is completely unrelated to the price paid by a consumer at the grocery store, and it is not based on the cost of production. The price of milk is dictated by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which has a reputation for being manipulated into charging consumers more and paying farmers less. Corruption, price gouging, and anti-trust violations by the nation's biggest dairy cooperatives, processors and food companies have resulted in artificially low prices of shattering proportions and an industry known in great part for its volatility.

Still, despite their experience with precarious markets, dairy farmers haven't faced such dire circumstances since the Great Depression. In 1939, dairy farmers famously dumped milk on the side of the road in an effort to both decrease supply and protest milk prices far below the cost of production. There is no reason why they should be forced to suffer the same way seventy years later. We know that dairy farmers in America are a tenacious bunch. Their ingenuity and work ethic have kept them afloat through the ups and mostly downs of the market. As dairy farmer and farm advocate Joel Greeno explains, "The good times are measured in months, the bad times in years. "But even the most tested farmers haven't seen anything quite like this.

As a result, many small and medium-sized dairy farmers have already shut down operations, while others continue to head to the slaughterhouse to thin their herds. In January alone, 72,000 cows were culled, and estimates suggest another 250,000-300,000 need to be immediately pulled from our nation's stock in order to begin to stabilize prices. While this may seem like a logical short-term fix to stem the impact of the industry's collapse, it is a controversial measure and the strategy has failed us before. Furthermore, herd reduction tactics place stress on other industries, beginning with beef. Dairy farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to find anyone willing to buy their culled cattle at a reasonable price. And as dairy farmers are forced into bankruptcy, the impacts on farm service and input industries ripple through rural America and beyond, further taxing our country's already fragile economic and unemployment situation.

If current trends continue, we risk losing 20,000 of our nation's 60,000 dairy farmers by year's end.* And if this level of devastation weren't enough, reports of farmer suicides have begun to surface, further adding to the unconscionable impacts of the crisis, and punctuating the need for immediate action.

The Dairy Subcommittee of Farm Aid-funded group and ally, the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), has been actively lobbying Congress and the Administration for temporary measures to address the current crisis in the economic stimulus package while pressing for long-term reforms. Ultimately, what our dairy farmers need is a complete overhaul of the milk pricing system: one that incorporates the national average cost of production, a fair living wage, and an inventory management mechanism designed to address overproduction as needed. Furthermore, the Department of Justice must tackle unchecked anti-trust violations and excessive control in the industry to ensure a pricing system that is fair and transparent for dairy farmers, processors and consumers alike.

Supporting the dairy industry through this deepening crisis is critical to the stability and vitality of our country. As Farm Aid President, Willie Nelson, often reminds us, American family farmers are the first rung on the economic ladder. If we lose even one family farmer or make it increasingly difficult for new or beginning farmers to get on the land, we put our food security and our local economies at risk.

If you or someone you know is struggling amidst the dairy crisis, please email us at FARMHELP@farmaid.org or call our referral hotline (1-800-FARM-AID). We may be able to direct you to a farm organization or farmer advocate in your area to help explore your options. Furthermore, the more information we have directly from farmers to communicate their struggle to the members of Congress and the Administration, the more tools we have on-hand for affecting true positive change.

-Hilde


* This statistic has been updated to reflect current projections as of July 2009.



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Comments:
Anonymous @ 2/27/2009 4:35:49 AM 
Hi Hildi , Since i'm sure you are in touch with neil young or have access to be in touch with him. I was watching his " fork in the road video " and how he pluggged his ear buds into the apple to act as an ipod, I thought it stood out that, folliwing him for 40 years, anything is possible with him, and he does have one hell of an imagination for his music and art, but in watching his video and being one of the founders of farm-aid....... that ,towards the end of the video, he takes a bite out of the apple then just tosses it onto the ground, it hit me, that,does he or doesnt he really care. C-mon, hes a multi-millionaire, but i thought that was a bad stage prop to do that being how hes involved with farmaid. He should have used something other than food. Can you ask him why? because i'm sure i'm not the only one that noticed that....Craig
Anonymous @ 2/27/2009 7:01:14 AM 

One of the problems is the many people who are enticed to come to the US, where the fields are paved with milk&gold. The CAFO has been promoted by Dept of Ag in many States. In most cases, rules are changed to pave the way to operate huge dairies producing too much milk, with out the expense of a viable plan to deal with the herd, or the manure.
Most appear to be undercapitalized, aggressively pursuing subsidies that were designed to help the family farmer. With out their volume of production, there would not be a glut of milk in this country, much less abroad.
I can understand, as brothers if you will, you do not want to put any blame on another dairy, but as we speak, the Dept. of Agriculture is pushing to issue more permits to these corporate CAFOs.
I would point out to all of you, that a little over 20 years ago, the corporate Office Products store came to this industry. They put 65,000 independent, family owned office supply stores out of business.

Gary
Ohio

Anonymous @ 2/27/2009 7:17:50 AM 
I would love nothing more than to be able to drive 1/2 up the road from my house in Wisconsin and buy fresh milk from the dairy farmer. The irony (and tragedy) is that the farmer and I would be breaking the law if I did that. Our system is so broken. (Funny how this story reveals yet more Chicago corruption - where does it end?)
Anonymous @ 2/27/2009 7:37:01 AM 
Another potential reason for decreased milk consumption is the recent decision not to label hormone-free milk as such...I feel this decision is anti-consumer and it is the main reason I have decreased my consumption. There is an enormous erosion of confidence in food safety, either due to corrupt businesses, the government's inability to monitor, or both...so I will continue to choose carefully...and avoid products as much as possible, where the interests of big business overshadow the interest of consumers.
Barb
Anonymous @ 2/27/2009 9:31:57 AM 
So what can we, as individual consumers, do? I do drink milk, always organic, but how will I know if I am buying from a small dairy farm rather than a conglomerate? The graphic of a sweet cow eating grass on the carton isn't always accurate. Bonnie
Anonymous @ 2/27/2009 11:04:18 AM 
I feel the introduction of mega dairies has led to this problem. We do too much for people of other countries to come here and ruin our way of rural living. We were forced to move into town after 50 years on our farm because Vebra Hoff helped a Dutch couple start a a mega dairy right in the midst of a residential rural area. They have ruined the roads and now have have run out of money so it is unfinished. Let's put our tax money into helping the small family dairies survive. They do not pollute the air and water and do not use all the antibiotics and growth hormones.
Anonymous @ 2/27/2009 11:34:43 AM 
Hi Hilde, here in northwest NJ my hay supplier is getting about $11 per hundred. A long way from being able to make a living at it. The buying public needs to be educated on how their food and produce is priced and how that affects the economy overall. We have enjoyed relatively inexpensive food stocks for so long that people expect to pay next to nothing for milk, poultry etc. I believe the disappearance of the small local farm has caused a disconnect with the public as to where and how the food on their table gets to them.For example, If the average person realized how much goes into raising a single chicken from hatching to table, I am sure that the $.59 per lb that they pay at the market is a ridiculously low amount. Thanks for all the work Farm Aid is doing to help preserve the family farm. Todd Warren County, New Jersey
Anonymous @ 2/27/2009 12:13:21 PM 
There is a factor here not mentioned. Recently there was a huge price increase which spurred an increase in production. But with the higher prices consumers started buying less milk and the price fell for more supply.

This is what happens when food is sold on a mass scale. We need less regs and more direct farm sales of milk.
Anonymous @ 2/27/2009 1:38:01 PM 
NOW LISTEN UP PEOPLE THIS IS VERY SIMPLE THE FARMERS HAVE ALWAYS HAD THE MARKET CONTROL IN THEIR HANDS ,DUMP THE DAM MILK ONE DAY (EVERYBODY) YOU CAN NAME YOUR PRICE !!!! YOUR MILK HANDLER IS NOT YOUR FRIEND BY NO MEANS THEIR PROFIT MARGIN IS 20$ PER 100 ,DO YOUR MATH. HANDLERS BUY AS CHEAP AS POSSIBLE AND SELL AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE.THEIR GOOD BUISNESSMEN AND FARMERS ARE NOT!SORRY!BEEN THERE DID THAT!
Anonymous @ 2/27/2009 2:52:37 PM 
Hilde,
We are one of the dairy farms struggling to survive. We are not a huge conglomeration or corporate dairy that some of the others have posted about. We are a small organic dairy farm in Oregon.
What people don't realize it all the price gouging done to the organic dairy farmer. In the past year our feed prices have more than doubled. Due to the supply of organic feed available. This mainly has been caused by the organic corn growers no longer growing organic corn for feed and growing it for ethanol instead. I won't even start in about the hay growers. We are one of the few industries that sell a product at wholesale prices and have to purchase everything to produce that product at retail prices. Put the word ORGANIC on those retail prices and up goes the price.
Anonymous @ 2/27/2009 2:52:55 PM 
As far as the milk not being labeled "hormone free". As long as you are buying organic milk, you can guarantee no hormones have been added. So, if you are drinking organic milk you can be assured that it is "BST free" even without the labeling. We aren't allowed to use hormones, specifically "BST". So, tip up the glass and enjoy :-) Technically, it's impossible to have "hormone free" milk due to the fact that all cows will shed hormones in their milk. All lactating species due, even humans.
Anonymous @ 2/28/2009 8:38:53 AM 
I am a concerned citizen who has family dairy operators that are struggling. I am also a citizen who, for the last two years, has been fighting to keep a CAFO from locating 3/4 mile from my home. Over 80% of the 100s of people who have joined in this fight operate small family farms. I must agree with the writer who expressed concern about the ease in which the Dutch CAFOs come into this country and pollute and over-produce to ship outside of the country. The change must be made through the government. This fight has taught me that the majority of citizens are on the side of the family farmer. They just are not educated enough about the process and I know if they were, the majority of us non-farmers would do what is necessary to help and keep the family farmer.
Anonymous @ 2/28/2009 1:17:40 PM 
The answer is simple--Farmers need a guarantee of a profit--it is a matter of national security! 2006 did us in. We WERE a small dairy in KY and lost money for a whole year. Look around you now at the mess everything is in. What happens when farm after farm collapse under archaic,unfair pricing systems? Food is a requirement for life--and should be protected. What good will it do to have the best armed forces in the world without food to keep them alive? The "brains" running the economy manipulate the markets for their own gain. I challenge anyone to read and understand the "milk marketing orders"! RIDICULOUS!
Anonymous @ 3/1/2009 6:06:47 AM 
Are there any brands of conventional milk that are better than others to purchase, or are they all equally as bad? I live in NH and there are farms that sell pet milk direct to public, but the closest farm that sells milk I would want to use in my ceral is in Dracut, MA (45 minutes away). As a consumer what can I do?
Anonymous @ 3/1/2009 8:55:31 AM 
I hope that more and more dairy farmers will get out of the business because of what this article is talking about. I feel it would be more important to switch from a dairy farm to a produce farm to grow vegetables or grain and use the cows only for their manure rather than exploiting their female reproductive systems!
Anonymous @ 3/2/2009 10:56:06 AM 
Direct-to-consumer distsribution is the answer for many of these dairies.

At the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, we're getting more and more calls from sustainable farmers wanting to switch over from commercial bulk sales to cow-share programs, providing quality raw milk directly to the consumer. In some states direct farm to consumer sales are legal, and in other states, the farmers distriubte raw milk to pet owners as pet food. The same 11 gallons could raise $5 - $13/gallon. Read more here http://www.ftcldf.org/cow-shares.html Raw milk is not the same as pre-pasteurized milk. Raw milk consumers will only by milk from humanely raised, antibiotic and hormone free cows primarily on pasture, So, for pasture-based dairies, the Cow-Share operations can make a big difference. Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund - 703-208-3276 or www.farmtoconsumer.org.
Anonymous @ 3/3/2009 10:37:24 AM 
I am 20 years old and I live on our family dairy farm.I would not change it for the world; I love growing up on a farm. But now days you often wonder why do you keep doing it, I see my parents, struggling with high prices of EVERYTHING else and low prices for milk. It has been breed into me. Something that has been in my family for generation after generation, but I don't want it to stop with my dad, I want to keep it going, but how can a person? How can a person keep going when you feel like it?s a dying breed? Some might be thinking well you are 20 yrs old,you have so much to learn,I agree I do. But I know one thing I am not naive like others,because the way I was brought up on a farm, seeing the hard times,and everything else that comes with it.I know that farmers are hurting and are tired of being on a rollercoaster ride and taken advantage of.jess
Anonymous @ 3/3/2009 10:41:48 AM 
Here's an interesting note. BST hormones have been banned in Europe and Canada for quite some time already--because they believe them to be cancer causing!!! The hormones are used to increase milk production, but cause the cows to feel sick in the process, and results in shorter life expectancy. They are mainly used by the big agri-businesses who are totally in it for the money. Since they can milk these poor cows around the clock, it's forcing the smaller farms out of business--the ones who really care about their land and animals and the environment--"the true farmer"--the foundation of our country. Check out the documentary, "The Corporation". It has a small part about this in it, in addition to much more eye-opening information. The extra dialogue after the film is also very worthwhile. Especially interesting is when, why and how England started their national health plan.
Anonymous @ 3/18/2009 5:22:17 AM 
I have been writing my politicians ,but I guess it hasn't helped. My husband and I live on a small family dairy farm . We just got our milk check , what there was of it . It was slashed in half. All because of the insulting milk price we are getting. And it is an insult to all the hard work and long hours my husband works. It is only us , no hired hands ~ we can't afford them . The milk check isn't even enough to pay our bills . The other week I sold an antique milk bottle to try and help pay the bills . I am trying to sell another bottle I have. Plus an antique dry sink that has been in the family for generations . It should be going to our kids some day . Now my husband is selling some of his guns too. How much do we have to give up to try and hang on to our farm ? We just want a fair price for our milk . I don't think that is too much to ask . Diane H. Howard , PA
Anonymous @ 3/21/2009 6:55:06 PM 
Hello Hilde and Everyone on this forum! I apologize in advance for my long-winded series of messages, but I would like to offer my two cents, if I may. To establish my credibility beforehand, I will give you a little background about myself: I practically grew up on my neighbor's farm in a rural town in Northeastern Wisconsin. When I started working there, I was in third grade and I absolutely loved being able to take care of the cows and the land. As I grew older, my responsibilities grew accordingly until I could do just about everything that needed to be done to keep the farm going on a daily basis. I owe a lot of who I am to the education I received while milking cows, picking stones, baling hay, fixing equipment, etc. Through my ten year career there, I worked my share of 14+ hour days (the longest was 26.5 in 2006) during the peak of the harvest season. Why did we do it? It was all about our commitment to providing the best possible feed and housing for our cows.
Anonymous @ 3/23/2009 7:08:22 AM 
Another Family Farm bites the Dust. I received the news yesterday that my daughters boyfriends father is calling it quits by June. Griffin Farms is an organic Farm in Perham, Maine. It is a family run small dairy farm that has endured many problems that have been faced and worked out Now they are having a have time getting the buyers to bring an organic truck up here to Northern Maine, The sad thing is this is just another problem that they can't fix by themselves. I feel that this is a way for the big farms and dairys to put the small farms out of business and to not give the American people a choice. I wish Griffin Farms all the best you will be missed.
Anonymous @ 3/23/2009 1:54:23 PM 
I grew up on a small dairy farm in KY and we had to sell the dairy just over a year ago due to the rock bottom prices. It was heart-breaking but we're now in the process of switching into raising beef cattle. I've been trying to think of ways to inspire all Americans to take pride in the work of their farmers and to think about the incredible impact they can make simply by supporting local farms. I've entered a contest sponsored by Microsoft called "Name Your Dream Assignment" which could help me fulfill my dream of traveling America's rural roads photographing the beauty of our farmers at work.The product of my dream assignment would be a book of intimate images and stories from across the United States that tells the collective story of the farmers’ will to sustain their livelihood. I want to capture the emotions, stories, personalities, and the beauty of farmers within their element, doing what they love. My hope through this project is to inspire our nation to su
Anonymous @ 3/23/2009 2:10:16 PM 
continued from above... to support its local farmers, thus ensuring that these stewards of the land are able to stay on their land. Please help me to bring images of rural America to urban America and helping everyone see what is so worth fighting for. To read more and vote (by April 2nd) , please go to: http://www.nameyourdreamassignment.com/the-ideas/crgoff/the-farmers-faith-visions-of-americas-vanishing-family-farms/ Thanks so much for you time, Courtenay Goff www.courtenaygoffphotography.com to see farm images in the "Farmhand" gallery
Anonymous @ 3/29/2009 8:07:06 AM 
I have been dairy farming for 40 years and have never seen such rediculesly low milk prices. We are led to believe that the system that we operate under is so complicated and messed up that there is nothing that we can do as dairy farmers. I totaly disagree. The ball is in our court and it is time that we do something now. It is this simple.Do not dump milk this makes absoulty no sense at all. No other industry would overproduce anything and just through it away.Just don't produce it. Its that simple if we stop and look outside of our box. Fact-if we cut our production by only 6 % thats around 450 lbs on a 100 cow farm per day that would give us $19.00 milk within two weeks. Of course we would all have to do it. I don't know how many times I have heard my fellow dairy producers tell me that I would do it but I know that so and so won't.Our proccessors love the fact that they have done sush a good job of brainwashing us to believe that we can't control our own supply. My dear friends le
Anonymous @ 4/28/2009 12:08:08 PM 
The bottom line is this. The small dairys are at the mercys of mega dairys who have mega investors and actualy like this price because its a sweet right off for them. If something aint done to the pricing system to favor the small dairy man, the big walmart like dairys will rule the roost (more than even now)
Ask the old hog farmer if you can find him
Anonymous @ 5/2/2009 7:43:16 PM 
Does it make sense if indeed too much supply is the problem that we are financing and building large dairies and bringing them online, I said last year of a larger expansion in this area, that is all well and fine but where do they plan to go with that milk. We produce a good product and attempt to use feed that is grown on this farm to sustain our animals and take good care of our animals using medications only when there is not other choice. I think in some respects the multitude of choices in the dairy case does not help our cause. Some choice is good;however the choices has just become too many. I think that perhaps the benefits of organic may be more for the convenience of a few processors and the grocery owners than for the benefit of dairy farmers or human health. An interesting read on this is skeptoid.com organic food myth's while it is applied to the vegetable industry how much does it apply to the dairy industry, as well.
Anonymous @ 5/12/2009 2:13:05 PM 
All I can say is the American farmer needs help and they need it now!! Take a look, we have already lost too many farmers. Take a drive down the road and see all the empty barns. Where will our food come from? Other businesses related to Ag will go down too.
Anonymous @ 6/7/2009 1:22:53 PM 
This is crazy. They say we have too much milk yet the creamery we sell to is buying from other creameries and had an aricle in last Sunday's paper explaining how it's booming and that every block of cheese is sold even before it is made. And in a town 200 miles away the creamery there is expanding. So what is really going on. Evryone needs to sign this petition not just dairymen and farmers all who eat and drink here in America. We saw not to long ago what hppened in another country due to poor inspection practices and laid back rules. Is that what we want coming into USA?
Anonymous @ 6/17/2009 4:18:05 AM 
We are dairy farmers in the Northeast. It is getting harder to pay the bills. I think the only way our government will maybe wake up is that the starvation that is coming to nation hits their family. They are taking their good old time. If it is for them they would give themselves a raise. How much longer do they think we can survive. We are at the end of our rope now. I get comments at times from people "i dont know why farmers are complaining they had a good year last year". That was basically Ketchup. Get more efficient from a Penn State proffessor ,diversify. How there is not enough of hours to do the field work and taking care of the cows.
I know the ecomony is bad and people are losing their jobs but with being farmers you still have to milk the cows and feed them. so you still have the 2010 bills coming in with 1970 prices for our milk, now you hear rumors were are gong to be taxed an emission tax of 175.00 per cow because they burp. Good bye to the AMERICAN FARMER
Anonymous @ 6/19/2009 3:10:08 AM 
I am the oner operater of what was a 250 cow family dairy. About 5 years ago we made the choice to expand from 100 to 250 cows. I say we as in my dad, 2 brothers, and myself. A true family owned dairy. We did great for a year or so and then the milk prices started dropping rapidly since then we cannot afford to fill our barn so we are currenty only milkinf 147 cows for the sole reason we cant afford to fill the barn to capacity. We have had to cut out some of the essential rations in our feed to accomadate high prices so our production per cow is way down. If prices stay the same we will shut down by the end of the year if not sooner. FARMER"S NEED HELP!!!!
Anonymous @ 6/23/2009 4:02:33 PM 

I cry I cry for us all. I have traveled some in the midwest,however this was years ago. Those family farms touched my soul
I lived in Washington state for dive years near some small family farms, so kind and proud. You have to have strong values and a love for this Mother Earth and stil thru these hard times the
Anonymous @ 6/23/2009 4:46:19 PM 
This country could be saved if we would all just pull together my neibors have grouped with a harder system. I know that education for our kids is v
From Vicki Warrior All
I cry,I cry for us all. We have a pre
Sidents who with the he is
Giving away so where
Is the for these hard working
Family farms ages of gEn
Rations. These people are
Losing and it is tragic
Let's teach this in the
Schools so our kids will
Have the heart to know!
I pray for us all and myself
Have not much but
can be a voice
Let us help THIS
COUNTRY educate
Our children!
We are not alone!


bonuses given could save more than one family f



arm. Just where are our priorities in this country
Anonymous @ 8/4/2009 11:14:18 AM 
Hi All:
Please help me to understand the apparent disparity between the points being raised here and the information being put out concerning the ever increasing global demand for milk and dairy products by new and emerging markets such as India, China, etc. If such a demand exists, why aren't the "excess" dairy products making it overseas to fill the void? What is really going on here?
Thanks,
JGH
drjohnnj08318@gmail.com
Anonymous @ 8/8/2009 11:48:54 AM 
Everyone on here seems to be talking about over-production by farmers in the U.S. It is a free country for a man to do as he pleases, produce milk as he sees fit. Has everyone forgotten about the massive amounts of dairy imports into the U.S.? For example, milk protein concentrates ability to stretch 100 pounds of milk for cheesemaking and other dairy products. Has everyone forgotten about all the casien being imported into this country? Did everyone forget about the last downturn in the industry when the New Zealand dairy co-ops were putting cheese on the docks in Elizabeth, NJ for 99 cents a pound? Does anyone remember any of this unfair competition to the industry? Sure we send out a lot of dairy exports. That's fine when the economy is good, but those exports went away. Why are they still allowed to import into our country when times are bad? I think we all need to stop crying about the American farmer and go to Washington and have some of these unfair import policies changed. This
Anonymous @ 8/23/2009 11:38:02 AM 
In answer to the above question: Why aren't the "excess" dairy products making it overseas to fill the void" by JGH.....

Good question. Last year the US exported 11 percent of all dairy product produced in this country. That was due to the fact the US dollar was not worth as much, so the exchange rate made our product cheaper to buy on the world market. As bad as our economy is right now, the strength of the dollar has actually improved. Also, last year Australia and NEw Zealand were in the midst of a terrible drought. They are the two biggest dairy exporters in the world. That drought has eased somewhat. They produce milk cheaper there because of the mild climate, the cows don't need barns. All are grazed on pasture and milked in a "parlor", sometimes not even covered with a roof!
Anonymous @ 9/20/2009 12:05:53 PM 
Recent hearing on milk pricing held in Wash DC only heard comments from the conglomerates like Dean's Foods, Lifeway Foods, Inc. Con Agra Foods and interestingly those are the ones who spent $247,000 to lobby for low milk prices. Unfair!
Land O Lakes sold their dairy food case marketer share to Dean's Foods. I don't know why they still collect patronage fees as they are doing nothing for the co-op that they are supposedly representing. Land O Lakes also got into hog marketing and egg marketing and those two segments have bad earnings.
PETA or the HSUS is changing the marketing that the farmer has paid hard earnings to advertise. HSUS is a radical group that does not want any animals. They are vegans.
The banks are not allowing farmers to file for bankruptcy. They did the farmers a disservice by granting preditory loans. The large CAFO farms aren't trying to get the milk price up and I believe that they are a monopoly with Deans Foods. They want the smaller farmers of 1,000 c
Anonymous @ 9/23/2009 6:57:05 AM 
It seems as though everyone hates bigger farms but hate to tell ya they are losing their shirt also.The banks make loans yoy should know what you are signing for when you sign ARM loans change rates did everyone forget the eighties? Farmers have no one to blame but themselves for that one.Does anyone know anything about farmer owned co-ops ther run by farmers for farmers right,do you know who the biggest importers of dairy products are? Does any one know how much debit DFA has per patron how many plants they bought an closed or sold at a loss thats patrons money you know.I was told coop profits come first
Anonymous @ 9/23/2009 7:14:09 AM 
I was told by a DFA field rep when this whole import buss started that there would be $8 milk didnt belive it at first but it was true he also said farmers can dump there milk forever we as coops including others dont care there will be milk an cheese on the shelf at the no matter what or where we have to get we already have the means in place.The olny way to stop these fools is to either take back the coop or cut off the cash They cant keep making money losing deals with your money move on you will never get you patronage back anyway does anyone think lol made money on anything they touched The american dairy farmer is about tapped out we need to go to washington on the steps of the capitol an make a lot of noise in big numbers.
Anonymous @ 10/7/2009 8:04:12 AM 
Two points:
1. Farmers, myself included, are to proud to just dump there product down the drain. One thing will cure this all of this! Time! Who ever is pricing the milk, cause it isnt the farmer, will get whats coming to them! You force that many farms to fold.....in time the market will turn around. There are only so many assets we can cash in on. It doesnt matter if its 50 cows or 2000 cow operation......it cost the same to produce. My 120 cow operation is in the same boat as the monstrosity down the road! So those setting the price can laugh all the way to the bank but eventually they are going to pay.
2. If supply is the problem when demand is "low", perhaps govt should take a look at cutting imports from other countries. American farmers can not supply enough milk to feed its civilians without imported goods (dairy). Thats understood! But why in this great country would we keep flooding the market with imported milk products when we can not take care or our own! What message do
Anonymous @ 12/18/2009 1:12:13 PM 
I want to share my story, about my family’s small dairy farm. This farm was first started in 1978 by my grandfather (Charles Bell) and my grandmother (Virble Bell). The farm was successful in every way. They even were awarded “Dairy Farmers Of The Year” in 1986. They graduated from Grade C milk to Grade A milk. As the years passed the farm was then left to my father (Everett Bell) in 1999. During the last decade, the prices for feed have increased, the prices for commodities have increased, and the prices being paid for milk production have dramatically decreased! This led my father to believe that he needed to build a barn that milked sixteen cows rather than the older barn that only milked five to six cows at a time. He also thought that the mixing the feed himself would help save cost on buying the feed or grains pre-mixed. With the price of milk per hundred pounds a decade ago, his plans for developing a bigger business would have worked, but the economy has change
Anonymous @ 12/18/2009 1:13:16 PM 
Besides all of this, my point is that dairy farmers today are not getting the price per hundred gallons that they deserve. And even if the price of milk for producers do increase, how will my family be saved from foreclosure. Their houses, vehicles‘, land, and everything they own is tied up into this huge amount of debt towards the farm. They do not have the income to hire labor help, which leaves only my seventy-one year old grandfather, my sixty-six year old grandmother, my father, and his son to run the entire farm. There is more to be done than just milk the cows. They must care for the calves, provide food and proper conditions for the cows, maintain the tractors and equipment needed to keep the dairy farm alive. Cows must be milked at least twice a day for seven days a week. I (daughter of Everett Bell and my mother-in-law) have been donating our time into helping with labor time on the farm for free. My heart lies into this farm, and the needs of my family. My father has su
Anonymous @ 1/18/2010 3:13:50 PM 
I am a consumer and am not in the dairy business, and I have a question. A person representing a local dairy told me today that the federal gov't. within the last few months instituted a program to subsidize the slaughter of dairy cattle to help increase the price of milk. Is this true? Is there a reference you can give me so I can learn more? Thank you. P. Knight, Arvada, CO.
Anonymous @ 1/22/2010 12:36:05 PM 
P. Knight,

"Herd retirement," as they call the program, is not sponsored by the federal goverment. It is sponsored by a group called Cooperatives Working Together, which describes itself as "a voluntary, producer-funded, multi-dimensional, national program that has been strengthening milk prices and bringing long-term price stability to America's dairy farm families since 2003." You can read their "Frequently Asked Questions" document here: http://www.cwt.coop/action/action_herd_faqs.html

Thanks,
Matt Glidden
Web Marketing Manager
Farm Aid
Anonymous @ 1/24/2010 6:00:48 PM 
its a real shame when dairy producers have to pay to put his nieghbor out of biz so he can stay in an lose money anyway its what 2010 an its been going since 03 its not working yet Oh what a world we live in
Anonymous @ 2/22/2010 5:22:44 PM 
I was shocked when I read this article. I never heard about the dumping of gallons of milk on roads protest, but in this day and age of corruption, I would love nothing more than to see the farmers and consumers alike take a stand and let the corrupt, who take advantage of people, especially in troubling times like now, know that we've had all we're going to take, and let them suffer a bit just as we have and continue to do until this crisis is over.
Anonymous @ 3/2/2010 7:06:35 AM 
TWO WORDS "FACTORY FARMING" THEY ARE KILLING US AND THE COWS.
Anonymous @ 3/18/2010 8:12:24 PM 
factory farms arent killing you its a free country so free that the big corporations can import so much cheese and other dairy products cheaper than you could ever dream of producing it for an thats put on the docks in the US. I dont think the average american farmer or citizen has any idea whats going on.If you wanted to get a look at a small snapshot picture walk into any cold storage that handles cheese you will see cheese from everywhere in the world but here multiply that by most of the warehouses in america. Check the import numbers when you have a crisis like dairy is going through imports should shut off TAKE CARE OF AMERICANS FIRST FOR ONCE!
Anonymous @ 4/1/2010 8:11:49 AM 
they are killing cows
Anonymous @ 4/1/2010 6:38:22 PM 
I also know of 40 to 50 cow herds that are killing cows also I vowed to never sell another with out checking them out first I sold this farmer some excellent heifers an went to his farm six months later an saw those heifers an couldnt believe my eyes how banged his cows and those heifers were and have been to more since then. there are still alot of cows in stanchion an tie stall barns some never see the light of day never leaving the barn there whole life and that cruel so a little info its not the size of the farm its the operator
Anonymous @ 4/12/2010 6:41:00 PM 
Hi, I am a vegan I would like to let anybody who has read this interesting article know that we don't need milk and quite frankly shouldn't be drinking it. There are plenty of great alternatives on the market that are cruelty free such as Rice milk, Almond milk and Soy milk, among others like coconut milk and such.

As a vegan I can attest that the alternatives are great and actually much better than cow's milk in taste and health.

I hope you give these alternative products a try, I like Rice Dream milk. Lets leave the cow milk to the cows.
Anonymous @ 2/15/2012 11:02:34 AM 
hey Anonymous,
if we cut our imports from other countries then how will we keep our country running without imports we cant feed our vast country
Anonymous @ 4/11/2013 9:59:49 AM 
Simple question:
WHY is the Dairy Industry petitioning the FDA to be allowed to put Aspartame, Splenda in 18 Dairy Products??
Will it be labeled if this atrocity should be granted? I respect our Farmers tremendously, however, that this industry is joining on the path of manipulating our food is horrific at best.
The alternative is to boycott Dairy altogether?? No problem.
Anonymous @ 11/2/2013 12:36:14 PM 
Does anyone know of a Roger Bane dairy - could have been in the Md., DC, Pa. area?

Thanks for any help - danese in wv
Anonymous @ 12/13/2013 2:27:22 PM 
i will support the local dairy farmer anyday over commercial farming. i buy my milk from a dairy that delivers to my local grocer. just a few glass bottles a day i pay 265 per 1/2 gal now thats how to do it. i wish they did home delivery. REMEMBER!! FARMERS FEED AMERICAN PEOPLE. SUPPORT THEM. I WILL
Anonymous @ 12/31/2013 2:12:41 AM 
Dear struggling milk farmer,

I do have a small solution , for a several few out there.
Our company purchases Milk Powder and Butter for export every year.
Typically we do not purchase the standardized products, so the price we pay is higher.
We purchase "super kosher" milk powder and butter.
The end product is precisely the same as the standard but with a much higher price tag , so the farmers and production facilities will enjoy a premium to work with us.
In order for the product to be considered "Super Kosher" we put a Rabbi onsight throughout the milking process and production to oversee the whole process.
The process also involves thorough cleaning as well.
At the end of the day , farmers and production facilities enjoy a premium of up to 30% of the normal price tag.
If you would like to try to explore such a process in order to get more from your milk feel free to drop me a small email and I will explain in detail.
My email:
info@adama-systems.co.il
Anonymous @ 4/1/2014 6:44:05 AM 
A large corporation is responsible for increased prices for dairy products. They lobbied the politicians on behalf on the farmers for increases in pricing in which the farmers received a small fraction of the amount. Only the milk contract holders received a significant dollar amount. They have been by up all the milk contracts for a minimum of ten years or more under different corporations. Someone should investigate these Corporations.

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