I can't believe what I am reading

Arden Tewksbury
Arden Tewksbury

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever envision I would see the day when any dairy cooperative or any organization that represents dairy farmers would team up with the enemy to help injure the name of good, whole milk.

Recent reports continue to surface that good, ole DFA (Dairy Farmers of America Cooperative) is helping to place a drink comprising of milk and some kind of a plant drink to help quench the thirst of consumers in the marketplace.

I call this action a complete betrayal to our dairy farmers and our consumers. DFA seemingly claims that consumers are asking for this new drink. Pro-Ag officials talked to over 15,000 consumers per year, and they totally support whole dairy milk and not imitation dairy products.

This new idea will certainly make a different drink and I hope that the public and dairy farmers will continue to convince DFA how irresponsible their new idea of the drink is.

Why would DFA promote such an idea? Possibly more profit for DFA? 

Doesn’t DFA realize that their members and other dairy farmers are compelled to pay enormous sums of money to advertise and promote the worthiness of good dairy milk?

Their action is certainly hard to understand!

But wait a minute. Remember the days of the 1960’s and early 1970’s, when real, whole milk was challenged by the creation of imitation or so-called “filled” milk?  Sealtest Company, supposedly a friend of dairy farmers, and DairyLea Cooperative (which now has been gobbled up by DFA) and others came up with a new idea of imitation milk.

As I remember, dairy farmers in Arizona lost 10 per cent of their Class I sales. However, here in the East, Dairylea continued to manufacture the imitation milk. They even manufactured the small creamers and had them out on the marketplace. Even today, when you use a small creamer in your coffee or other beverage, make sure it is real milk or cream, not an imitation of milk.

At a milk advertising meeting in Montrose, PA (Susquehanna County), the late Joe Rogers, a true dairy farmer, asked a question of the officials from DairyLea why in the world is your dairy coop producing and marketing imitation dairy products? The answer was, we have consumers in the Catskills who are Jewish.

Joe held up an imitation dairy creamer and said that this product was purchased in Tunkhannock Pennsylvania, and there are very few Jewish people living in Tunkhannock. 

Dairylea should have been ashamed in blaming our good Jewish friends for the coop manufacturing imitation milk. We have always worked with many of our Jewish friends, including the late Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter. It was a shame in the late 1960’s and it is a shame once again. Also remember that Sealtest was created after the break-up of Sheffield Farms in the late 1930’s. Maybe it’s time for some more break-ups!   

Tewksbury is manager of Pro-Ag