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A guest editorial by Arden Tewksbury.

The recent announcement that the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) have petitioned the Market Administrator of Federal Order #1 to Depool 900 dairy farmers that DFA have been marketing their milk for a period of time under the umbrella of Dairy Marketing Service (DMS) is certainly earth shaking, unconscionable and in my opinion unethical.

The bulk of these dairy farmers are either independent dairy farmers or members of dairy co-ops.

While outlets for dairy farmers’ milk may be a little tight this spring, one must remember that DMS or DFA voluntarily has been marketing these dairy farmers’ milk.  I’m sure no one forced them to market this milk.

I’m aware that the dairy farmers in New York State have increased their production by four per cent.  Some of this increase is probably related to the inadequate price that all dairy farmers are receiving.

However, I’m wondering if the increased use of the questionable milk protein concentrate is displacing volumes of regular powdered milk and bears some of the responsibility of creating a false increase in production.  However, I don’t have to wonder about some political people in New York State urging dairy farmers to produce more milk to become the “yogurt capitol of the world.”

Maybe DFA should turn to these political people and ask them what do we do now?  Good question.

However, we have to face reality.  The reality is that 900 dairy farmers may be wandering around not knowing what might happen to them.   I’m the last person that would suggest that dairy farmers have more deductions from their milk checks.  In reality we have always worked for all dairy farmers to receive a fair price for their milk.

On February 7 we have sent an alternative proposal to the Market Administrators of Order #1 urging him to consider in lieu of depooling 900 dairy farmers we are strongly suggesting for the time being the Market Administrators should allow DFA to have a legal deduction agreement between DFA and the 900 producers that would equal what DFA members are being charged.

Pro-Ag can be reached at 570-833-5776 or email:  progressiveagricultureorg@gmail.com.

This practice has been done several times in the past. To Depool these 900 dairy farmers could mean these producers could be facing the crises of their lifetime just should not happen.

If you don’t like our idea than you’d better hurry up and submit your own plan to the Market Administrator’s office!

If you agree to our plan, then you should contact the Market Administrator’s office in Albany or Boston.  Some may criticize our plan as favoring DFA.  Not so!  What we are doing is an attempt to give 900 dairy farmers a chance to stay in business until a real solution is developed for these producers.  The Market Administrator’s office can be reached by phone in Albany at 518-452-4410, or in Boston at 617-737-7199.  The email address in Albany is pfredericks@fedmilk1.com and the email for Boston is NorthEastOrder@fedmilk1.com.  Every dairy farmer has a stake in this dilemma.  For a dairy farmer not reacting may help bring the same problem to your farm.  Let’s stop this now.

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