In 2000, the dairy and food "industry" won a major victory, giving them huge profits and great power over dairy farmers, resulting in the loss of thousands of US dairy farmers and bringing the number of American dairy farms down to probably fewer than 49,000 now.
"Federal Order Reform," block-voted by the major dairy cooperatives, changed the way raw farm milk was priced and paid to dairy farmers, using "component pricing", which has allowed the dairy industry's "powers" to become the "controllers" of world market milk prices.
Now, dairy farmers face further challenges with the current Farm Bill House and Senate versions.
They offer nothing to improve milk prices paid to dairy farmers, instead proposing taxpayer-subsidized dairy "margin insurance," with or without the Goodlatte-Scott Amendment, that will do nothing to pay farmers a fair price for their farm milk, leaving them once again at the mercy of the "dairy industry" that will stop at nothing to maintain the status-quo whereby they can get the farmers' milk way below what it costs to produce.
Who can blame dairy farmers for quitting, giving up on dairy farming after years, even decades, of trying to operate their farms with milk prices far below their production costs because the "industry" controls the wholesale raw milk price through federal legislation passed by the Farm Bills?
How many more American dairy farms can we afford to lose?
Will consumers want to rely on China and other "global" sources for our dairy products when too many of our farmers are driven out of business by unjust federal dairy policies?
Everyone needs to understand that no one in Congress, no one on the ag committees, no one in USDA, no one in the mainstream press is addressing the impact that dairy imports coming into this country under "Free Trade " agreements have in altering our dairy inventory statistics and blaming US dairy farmers for perceived milk "overproduction" when, in fact, domestic milk production statistics are skewed by irresponsible global dairy imports.
With or without US "supply management" provisions in the Farm Bill, unless imports and trade issues are addressed, US dairy farmers are still doomed because our dairy farmers cannot compete with 25-cent to $1 per hour labor in countries like China and India that also have horrible environmental standards, low-quality milk and food production requirements, and lack enforced safety regulations.
The "dairy industry" that is currently receiving 65-75 percent of the consumer dairy dollar needs to be reined in, and dairy farmers need to receive more than 25-35 percent.
It is way past due for real dairy reform in the Farm Bill. The current Farm Bill dairy provisions are a farce, setting up yet another round of disasters for dairy farmers, consumers, and, of course, taxpayers.
The Farm Bill conferees should be ashamed of themselves for even considering passing the Farm Bill in its present form. Hopefully, somebody in Congress will finally see what is at stake with this Farm Bill vote and do something meaningful to finally guarantee that our dairy farmers have a chance at a fair milk price by addressing the outrage of unbridled importation of milk powders and other dairy products.