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Producing more milk won't

solve dairy farmers' problems

March 14, 2013 | 0 comments

Dear Editor:

At a time when many dairy farmers are experiencing severe financial problems, I'm surprised that US Sen. Chuck E. Schumer and his advisors are urging New York State dairy farmers to produce a substantial more amount of milk to satisfy the potential needs of new yogurt plants in the Empire State.

It has always been my recollection that when a new milk processing plant was going to be constructed in any given area, one of the first things the owners would do would be to conduct a thorough survey of possible supplies of milk that might be available for the owners to latch onto.

It's very unusual that any milk processing plant would be built otherwise.

Certainly no one should object to building more milk plants providing they are needed.

Evidently the tremendous success that the Chobani Greek yogurt plant in Central New York State is experiencing might be the reason other people are moving ahead with their yogurt plants.

Remember that the Chobani plants in Central New York State and Jerome, ID still use only natural dairy ingredients in their yogurts.

However, the more critical point is the fact that dairy farmers currently are receiving prices paid to them far below the cost of producing raw milk. This is the main reason that we are continuing to witness an accelerated exodus of dairy farmers.

Before any dairy farmer is encouraged to produce more milk, there must be a change in the milk pricing formula that is used to determine the price paid to dairy farmers.

I would strongly urge Sen. Schumer and Sen. Crapo to jump on the milk wagon to see that dairy farmers are going to receive a fair price for their milk.

Is it really wise to urge dairy farmers to produce a substantially more amount of milk when many organizations and farm publications are reporting an over-production of milk at the present time?

Dairy farmers must be shaking their heads when the US Congress is considering passing a dairy bill that would place dairy farmers on a quota system in order to obtain a Federal funded margin insurance program.

Yet other Senators are urging many dairy farmers to produce more milk, and especially when the dairy farmers have no assurance that the price they receive for their milk will increase enough to cover their cost.

I believe that all dairy farmers should call the offices of Sen. Schumer and Sen. Crapo and urge them to put their shoulders behind a real dairy bill like S-1640. This bill is geared to pay the dairy farmers the right price for their milk, and the producers would be able to expand their production, without any penalty, providing there is a demand for their milk.

While Sen. Schumer and Crapo may feel they are moving in the right direction, it appears to me and many other dairy farmers, that the two Senators are getting the cart ahead of the horse.

Dairy farmers and consumers are still in an uproar over the scare of an $8 per gallon charge for their milk.

As we predicted, the price of milk did not go up in January of 2013, and of course it went down, and as a result the dairy farmers are being paid less for their milk.

Let's obtain a new pricing formula for dairy farmers that covers their costs, and then the dairy farmers will be in a position to produce milk for the needed markets.

I hope that Sen. Schumer and Crapo will listen to what the majority of dairy farmers want.

Thank you,

Arden Tewksbury

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