Pro-Ag submits solution to the dairy farmer crisis

Wisconsin State Farmer
Arden Tewksbury

With prices being paid to dairy farmers still lingering far behind the national average cost of producing milk, and where it appears there is no real effort being made to give dairy farmers a fair price for their milk, therefore Pro-Ag is urging the Senate Agriculture Committee to immediately take appropriate action to place a floor price under milk that is used to manufacture dairy products.

The proposal would establish a $20 per cwt. floor price under the above milk in three increments. The proposal would establish a floor price at $16 per cwt. (hundredweight) on July 1, 2018, followed by the price being set at $18 per cwt. on September 1, 2018, and on November 1st, 2018, the price would be established at $20 per cwt. 

Tewksbury, manager of Pro-Ag, said, "I believe with school soon to be dismissed for the summer, additional milk would have to be marketed otherwise." He further said, "Our $20 floor price is very defensible. Anything less than this program will only continue the exiting of hundreds (if not thousands) of more dairy farmers this summer."

Pro-Ag is asking the Senate Agriculture Committee to take leadership on our proposal, and hopefully the House members will follow their proposed actions.

Along with our floor price proposal, Pro-Ag is strongly suggesting that a supply management program be implemented similar to the program contained in the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act, identified as S-1640.  This program would be administered only when needed (which might be immediately). 

Dairy farmers must realize that Federal Order #1 has lost 40 percent of their dairy farmers since the Federal Orders were consolidated in the year 2000.  

More important is the fact (and please listen) that approximately 673 dairy farmers are producing 55 percent of the milk, and approximately 10,000 dairy farms are producing 45 percent of the milk. 

No one should linger any longer as to what must be done to enable the large majority of these 10,000 dairy farmers to be able to stay in business.

These 10,000 producers as well as all others should immediately get behind our efforts and help us get our proposal passed.  

Finally, national milk hearings must be held as soon as possible, but first, let's get the floor price established.

Who wants the blood on their hands if the majority of these 10,000 dairy farmers are gone?

What an ungodly pity this would be.