$20 floor price gaining support in D.C., but farmers need more help

Arden Tewksbury

In talks I had in Washington DC today, I finally heard the words that there are members in the Senate that could support the $20 Floor Price (for 100 pounds of milk or cwt.) but we need to do a lot more work to obtain additional support.

Arden Tewksbury

With the price of milk in Federal Order #1 being announced for May’s milk at $16.14 per cwt., this clearly illustrated that something must be done in a hurry to improve prices paid to dairy farmers, and I mean soon!

In December of 2017, records show there were 10,678 dairy farms in Order #1.  9,915 of these dairy farmers average 102,051 pounds of milk per month. (All were less than 500,000 pounds per month.)  These farmers produce 45% of the milk.

You dairy farmers are very important, and you must not forget that. You must call and you must urge your fellow dairy farmers to call your U.S. Senators and Congressman and urge them to support our efforts to get a $20 Floor Price under 100 pounds of milk (cwt.) This must be done by our legislators before more of you exit your dairy farms.

As I noted earlier, 9915 dairy farmers produce 45% of the milk. We need a substantial price increase for all sizes of dairy farms. And we need your help. 

Here are the figures for Order #1 for December 2017: Dairy farmers: 10,678. 763 dairy farmers produce 55% of the milk (all these producers produce over 500,000 pounds of milk per month). Their total production was 1.248 billion pounds of milk.  The average producer in that group averaged 1.6 million pounds.

There were 9915 dairy farmers that produced 1.1 billion pounds of milk in a month.  Their average production was 102,000 pounds. 

These figures indicate that the dairy farmers that produced over 500,000 pounds of milk for December 2017 produce approximately 16 times more than the average producer under 500,000 pounds. Alarming but true. As I said, we need all of these dairy farmers, and if we don’t obtain a Floor Price of $20 as a minimum under milk used for manufacturing dairy products, then hundreds, or maybe thousands of dairy farmers will be gone.

Please remember for the price dairy farmers would receive, you must add the Class I differential onto the $20 Floor Price. The $20 Floor Price would create a higher blend price for all dairy farmers in all Federal Orders. This price would vary (as it does today), depending on the level of the differential in the Order in which your milk is marketed. (In Federal Order #1, the pay price would be approximately $21.50).

Please remember, when this battle is over, then we must proceed and obtain milk hearings for all dairy farmers.

Tewksbury is the manager of Pro-Ag