If dairy farms want fair price, support Specter-Casey bill!

Arden Tewksbury

The air is saturated with various supply management suggestions. While we could write many negative comments about some of the suggestions that are being offered, however, I believe it’s more important to present a real solution to the dairy farmers continued financial crisis.

Arden Tewksbury

I still feel very sincere that the proper answer to the dairy farmers dilemma is the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act. This Act was first introduced as the Specter-Casey bill in the US Senate. This proposal is being evaluated by some members of Congress.

The proposal would price milk that is used to manufacture dairy products by using the national average cost of production as determined by the Economic Research Service, a division of the USDA. What’s wrong with this idea?

The value of milk used for fluid purpose would be determined by adding existing Class I differentials to the manufactured price. In essence, that is the method used now!  What’s wrong with that?

Isn’t it time for dairy farmers to have an opportunity to cover their cost? After all, the manufacturers of dairy products are basically having their cost covered. Why not dairy farmers?

Supply management program?  For sure this proposal carries a supply management program. The program in this bill is basically the same as we worked on with Farmers Union a few years ago. It’s called a base excess plan: every dairy farmer would choose either the average production of the last three years, or use the higher production year of the last three years.

If you produce milk within your base, then you receive the new fair price. If you produce over your base, then you will receive less for your over-base milk, but if the milk is needed, you will receive the fair price for all of your milk.

Imports of dairy products: The proposal is geared to prevent the imports of dairy products from destroying the dairy farmers fair price.

Tewksbury is manager of Pro-Ag