Dairy Advisory Committee Meets at USDA

Cindy Zimmerman

The first meeting of the new Dairy Industry Advisory Committee started Tuesday at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and heard strong words from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

“At some point in time, this industry has got to get control of itself,” Vilsack said. “”We can’t continue to do this bandage approach where we buy a little bit or we increase the price a little bit or we come up with additional resources. In a time of difficulties relative to the deficit it’s just not that easy to raise the price support level, because we need an offset, which means some other aspect of agriculture could potentially suffer.”

Vilsack says he wants recommendations on what USDA should do by year’s end, whether it’s regulation or legislation or a combination of both, because the dairy market situation has become increasingly unstable. “The bandwidth, if you will, between good times and bad times, which used to be relatively stable, has over the course of the last several years become quite dramatic,” he said. “The dips are very significant, the increases are not as high and there’s not as much time for operators to recover and the result is it’s become harder and harder for operators to stay in business.”

The Dairy Industry Advisory Committee was chartered to review farm milk price volatility and dairy farmer profitability. The 17 member committee was appointed in January and represents all aspects of the industry. They will be meeting in Washington through Thursday.

Industry News, usda

Comments 9

  1. I would like to address additional information to this letter. We are a small family dairy farm in Roanoke Indiana and keep praying that we can continue. Both my husband and I work off the farm right now just to have insurance and to be able to purchase feed. We have not received a milk check for over a year due to the low dairy price and high feed cost. Both our children son 17 daughter 14 due the night chores so my husband can work in town to just be able to but feed. They are exhausted trying to milk and have time for homework and accomplish passing grades just to keep things going. We need some serious help. How long would the Auto workers be in business if you cut all the employees wages at least 10.00 per hour. They would walk away and never look back and the government would step in to save the industry, think about that next glass of milk you pour, bowl of ice cream you eat, sour cream and butter you use, and realize it’s time to step up and help the dairys that are in serious trouble today.

    Thank you for your commitment to examining price volatility and farm profitability for dairy farmers and for your efforts in providing the Secretary of Agriculture with critical recommendations on how USDA can best address these issues to ensure a viable future for our nation’s dairy farmers.

    As you know, family dairy farmers are in a chronic cycle of crisis. In January 2009 alone, dairy farmers faced a dramatic 30% decline in milk prices, the result of a defective milk pricing system that is vulnerable to extreme volatility and instability. This downward spiral has continued with some farmers receiving as low as $9 per hundredweight for their milk — less than half the cost of production.

    The dairy industry needs a commonsense pricing formula for raw milk that pays a fair price and accounts for cost of production on farms across the country. Dairy price support programs must also account for total cost of production. Until a reasonable pricing formula is established, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack must use his authority to institute an emergency floor price of $18 per hundredweight for milk to keep farmers on the land during the current crisis.

    Furthermore, any supply management scheme created must factor in total cost of production in order to truly address the problems that put dairy farmers out of business. Otherwise, such measures will be counterproductive and ultimately harmful to the health of family farms.

    Thousands of family dairy farmers are at risk of losing their homes, their land, and their livelihood. Please, act now to set a fair price for milk and save our nation’s family dairy farmers.

  2. I would like to address additional information to this letter. We are a small family dairy farm in Roanoke Indiana and keep praying that we can continue. Both my husband and I work off the farm right now just to have insurance and to be able to purchase feed. We have not received a milk check for over a year due to the low dairy price and high feed cost. Both our children son 17 daughter 14 due the night chores so my husband can work in town to just be able to but feed. They are exhausted trying to milk and have time for homework and accomplish passing grades just to keep things going. We need some serious help. How long would the Auto workers be in business if you cut all the employees wages at least 10.00 per hour. They would walk away and never look back and the government would step in to save the industry, think about that next glass of milk you pour, bowl of ice cream you eat, sour cream and butter you use, and realize it’s time to step up and help the dairys that are in serious trouble today.

    Thank you for your commitment to examining price volatility and farm profitability for dairy farmers and for your efforts in providing the Secretary of Agriculture with critical recommendations on how USDA can best address these issues to ensure a viable future for our nation’s dairy farmers.

    As you know, family dairy farmers are in a chronic cycle of crisis. In January 2009 alone, dairy farmers faced a dramatic 30% decline in milk prices, the result of a defective milk pricing system that is vulnerable to extreme volatility and instability. This downward spiral has continued with some farmers receiving as low as $9 per hundredweight for their milk — less than half the cost of production.

    The dairy industry needs a commonsense pricing formula for raw milk that pays a fair price and accounts for cost of production on farms across the country. Dairy price support programs must also account for total cost of production. Until a reasonable pricing formula is established, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack must use his authority to institute an emergency floor price of $18 per hundredweight for milk to keep farmers on the land during the current crisis.

    Furthermore, any supply management scheme created must factor in total cost of production in order to truly address the problems that put dairy farmers out of business. Otherwise, such measures will be counterproductive and ultimately harmful to the health of family farms.

    Thousands of family dairy farmers are at risk of losing their homes, their land, and their livelihood. Please, act now to set a fair price for milk and save our nation’s family dairy farmers.

  3. I would like to address additional information to this letter. We are a small family dairy farm in Roanoke Indiana and keep praying that we can continue. Both my husband and I work off the farm right now just to have insurance and to be able to purchase feed. We have not received a milk check for over a year due to the low dairy price and high feed cost. Both our children son 17 daughter 14 due the night chores so my husband can work in town to just be able to but feed. They are exhausted trying to milk and have time for homework and accomplish passing grades just to keep things going. We need some serious help. How long would the Auto workers be in business if you cut all the employees wages at least 10.00 per hour. They would walk away and never look back and the government would step in to save the industry, think about that next glass of milk you pour, bowl of ice cream you eat, sour cream and butter you use, and realize it’s time to step up and help the dairys that are in serious trouble today.

    Thank you for your commitment to examining price volatility and farm profitability for dairy farmers and for your efforts in providing the Secretary of Agriculture with critical recommendations on how USDA can best address these issues to ensure a viable future for our nation’s dairy farmers.

    As you know, family dairy farmers are in a chronic cycle of crisis. In January 2009 alone, dairy farmers faced a dramatic 30% decline in milk prices, the result of a defective milk pricing system that is vulnerable to extreme volatility and instability. This downward spiral has continued with some farmers receiving as low as $9 per hundredweight for their milk — less than half the cost of production.

    The dairy industry needs a commonsense pricing formula for raw milk that pays a fair price and accounts for cost of production on farms across the country. Dairy price support programs must also account for total cost of production. Until a reasonable pricing formula is established, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack must use his authority to institute an emergency floor price of $18 per hundredweight for milk to keep farmers on the land during the current crisis.

    Furthermore, any supply management scheme created must factor in total cost of production in order to truly address the problems that put dairy farmers out of business. Otherwise, such measures will be counterproductive and ultimately harmful to the health of family farms.

    Thousands of family dairy farmers are at risk of losing their homes, their land, and their livelihood. Please, act now to set a fair price for milk and save our nation’s family dairy farmers.

  4. Reccomendations by years end? Many milk producing farmers will be out of business by then. This is an emergency being handled in the usual manner. The presenters to the commitee are processor and huge cooperative lobbyists who don’t suffer when the farmers don’t get a fair share, and to the contrary actually profit from the farmer’s woes. I would bet that the manipulative CME market that the milk prices derive from will get a gentle mention. This is business as usual and the lobbyists will control the outcome and the slowness at which it is addressed. “Farm milk price volatility and dairy FARMER profitability” are the key words here that reflect what this commitee was supposed to be addressing, but after reading the meeting agendas it isn’t hard to see who is going to be running the show as usual. Lobby dollars talk and farmer income walks.

  5. Reccomendations by years end? Many milk producing farmers will be out of business by then. This is an emergency being handled in the usual manner. The presenters to the commitee are processor and huge cooperative lobbyists who don’t suffer when the farmers don’t get a fair share, and to the contrary actually profit from the farmer’s woes. I would bet that the manipulative CME market that the milk prices derive from will get a gentle mention. This is business as usual and the lobbyists will control the outcome and the slowness at which it is addressed. “Farm milk price volatility and dairy FARMER profitability” are the key words here that reflect what this commitee was supposed to be addressing, but after reading the meeting agendas it isn’t hard to see who is going to be running the show as usual. Lobby dollars talk and farmer income walks.

  6. Reccomendations by years end? Many milk producing farmers will be out of business by then. This is an emergency being handled in the usual manner. The presenters to the commitee are processor and huge cooperative lobbyists who don’t suffer when the farmers don’t get a fair share, and to the contrary actually profit from the farmer’s woes. I would bet that the manipulative CME market that the milk prices derive from will get a gentle mention. This is business as usual and the lobbyists will control the outcome and the slowness at which it is addressed. “Farm milk price volatility and dairy FARMER profitability” are the key words here that reflect what this commitee was supposed to be addressing, but after reading the meeting agendas it isn’t hard to see who is going to be running the show as usual. Lobby dollars talk and farmer income walks.

  7. Why is it the dairy producer is treated differently than any other business? Why do they feel they deserve the cost of production in the price they receive.? The system they created (Federal Milk Market Orders) provide for supply and demand factors to be taken into consideration when the price for raw milk is calculated. Do other businesses get cost guarantees? Is there a shortage of milk in that consumers fear for not being able to purchase it?

    Yes dairy farming is hard, but for an industry to truly survive, socialist programs that guarantee cost of production do not ultimately serve the consumer or the industry for that matter in the long run. Guarantees only stifle efficiencies, growth and increased standards of living.

    If dairy farming for some is too hard, not profitable or cannot provide a basic living then you need to look at alternatives, either on the farm or eventually off the farm.

    Lobbyists don’t control milk production. Lobbyists don’t control how much milk and dairy products are consumed or exported. The government does not control the price producers are paid for raw milk. They only calculate it based on the FMMO system producers created. If the system isn’t working, throw it out, we welcome you to the free marketplace where you negotiate for your price, not calculated by a socialist program you created.

  8. Why is it the dairy producer is treated differently than any other business? Why do they feel they deserve the cost of production in the price they receive.? The system they created (Federal Milk Market Orders) provide for supply and demand factors to be taken into consideration when the price for raw milk is calculated. Do other businesses get cost guarantees? Is there a shortage of milk in that consumers fear for not being able to purchase it?

    Yes dairy farming is hard, but for an industry to truly survive, socialist programs that guarantee cost of production do not ultimately serve the consumer or the industry for that matter in the long run. Guarantees only stifle efficiencies, growth and increased standards of living.

    If dairy farming for some is too hard, not profitable or cannot provide a basic living then you need to look at alternatives, either on the farm or eventually off the farm.

    Lobbyists don’t control milk production. Lobbyists don’t control how much milk and dairy products are consumed or exported. The government does not control the price producers are paid for raw milk. They only calculate it based on the FMMO system producers created. If the system isn’t working, throw it out, we welcome you to the free marketplace where you negotiate for your price, not calculated by a socialist program you created.

  9. Why is it the dairy producer is treated differently than any other business? Why do they feel they deserve the cost of production in the price they receive.? The system they created (Federal Milk Market Orders) provide for supply and demand factors to be taken into consideration when the price for raw milk is calculated. Do other businesses get cost guarantees? Is there a shortage of milk in that consumers fear for not being able to purchase it?

    Yes dairy farming is hard, but for an industry to truly survive, socialist programs that guarantee cost of production do not ultimately serve the consumer or the industry for that matter in the long run. Guarantees only stifle efficiencies, growth and increased standards of living.

    If dairy farming for some is too hard, not profitable or cannot provide a basic living then you need to look at alternatives, either on the farm or eventually off the farm.

    Lobbyists don’t control milk production. Lobbyists don’t control how much milk and dairy products are consumed or exported. The government does not control the price producers are paid for raw milk. They only calculate it based on the FMMO system producers created. If the system isn’t working, throw it out, we welcome you to the free marketplace where you negotiate for your price, not calculated by a socialist program you created.

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