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Milk prices paid to dairy farmers for 2018 is deplorable!

Arden Tewksbury
Arden Tewksbury

After consultation with government and industry personnel, it’s very clear that milk prices paid to dairy farmers in 2018 still will not be pretty.

The price in Federal Order #1 could average between $16.40 per cwt. and $16.60 per cwt. (hundredweight) for this year. This is deplorable, and this time, something must be done.

What happens to dairy farmers in Federal Order #1, will also happen all across the United States. These prices should not be happening, and action must be taken to soften this blow to all dairy farmers, and I don’t mean tinkering with the ill-fated Margin Insurance Program.

Does anyone remember the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act that was introduced by the late Senator Arlen Specter and Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA)? 

Many politicians and dairy farmers turned their heads away from this proposal. If it had been passed, chances are that the present mess that dairy farmers are facing could have been avoided.

At a listening session conducted by Pennsylvania Congressman GT Thompson (R-PA) and several other US Congressmen, no one less than Congressman Colin Peterson (D-MN) admitted that he worked with the National Milk Producers Association in developing the Margin Insurance Program, and Congressman Peterson admitted that program failed.

If anyone can remember, I wrote several editorials predicting the Margin Insurance Program would turn out to be a failure, and it did.

Maybe it’s time for Congressman Peterson and other elected officials to listen to some other people besides always depending on National Milk and IDFA. 

Pro-Ag and other people are proposing temporary solutions to the dairy farmers’ crisis until either Congress or the USDA can come up with a feasible pricing system that would allow dairy farmers an opportunity to cover their cost of production.

Certainly Congress has the ability and responsibility to either peg the Class I price to a level of at least $20 per cwt. or, more feasible, place a floor price under all milk used for manufacturing dairy products, which would also raise the Class I price.

These actions would stabilize prices paid to dairy farmers.