Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published October 12, 2010, 09:27 AM

Senate dairy bill presents a solution to industry issues

PELICAN RAPIDS, Minn. — We are all victims in a dairy crisis of human devastation caused by the failures and injustice of systems and actions, or lack of them, and the conduct of greed and sepsis of corruption that sickens and destroys not only the innocent, but the very ones who wield it for power and profit. No one wins. Our pasts that once were futures have proven this.

By: LoriJayne M. Grahn,

PELICAN RAPIDS, Minn. — We are all victims in a dairy crisis of human devastation caused by the failures and injustice of systems and actions, or lack of them, and the conduct of greed and sepsis of corruption that sickens and destroys not only the innocent, but the very ones who wield it for power and profit. No one wins. Our pasts that once were futures have proven this.

I am a Minnesota dairy farmer and consumer. By 2008, we got $10.60 per hundredweight for our Grade A-quality milk and were forced out of business and into debt with losses we never should have experienced working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Our paychecks were out of our control and unfairly being controlled. It’s 2010, and with 2011 nearing, the status of farmers is the same. Cost of production was $20 then and is even more now.

Anything less than cost of production is a spiral fall downward into debt and losses, not only for the dairy farmers and their families, but for consumers, taxpayers and our economy.

It becomes a domino effect, reaching everyone and affecting many issues of concern. It only worsens and continues into a critical status. There is no bandage that can fix a severed artery. You need to fix the problem immediately and solve it for a full recovery instead of rendering halfway attempts that are insufficient to stop the bleeding.

Negligence threatens any sustainment of well-being and, in some cases, is a crime.

The crime in the dairy industry is inexcusable. It affects the lives and well-being of farmers and consumers and the quality and sovereignty of our nation’s food supply.

We are all victims in this matter and must now be responsible for changing it. The division and lack of support and effort to pass a solution now, not later, is negligent, as are proposals that fail to stop the bleeding and sepsis of corruption.

Proposed solution

There is a solution aimed at a full recovery prognosis and that is Senate Dairy Bill S 1645 The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2009.

Dairy Bill S 1645 would give all farmers a cost of production, has a supply management program, addresses imports and exports including milk protein concentrates and caseins and neither costs taxpayers a dime nor adds to government spending or the trillion- dollar budget deficit.

Those are needed solutions. Dairy Bill S1645 can be implemented upon being passed immediately as standalone legislation without the 2012 farm bill.

Other proposals fall short in solving the apparent problem of rendering a needed cost of production to all dairy farmers. In any business, you need to cover your costs of operating or you can’t continue long.

In my opinion, stabilizing milk prices from drastic fluctuations but never fully addressing the causes or giving farmers a cost of production — thus remaining or going further into debt — is not a solution.

An insurance program for which a farmer has to pay another expense to get insurance coverage that won’t cover losses when the margin of milk prices is below the cost of production is nothing but a loss in many ways.

To adjust the margin or stabilize the fluctuation of the depth of the water in which we all are drowning is negligence and not a solution. There is no maliciousness intended on my part or to be uncooperative, but enough is enough.

‘A life preserver’

We need our heads above water to survive, and no less. Dairy Bill S1645 is a life preserver and solution to sustain the well-being of dairy farmers, consumers, the industry and the integrity and sovereignty of our food supply.

Unified support is needed from everyone — farmers, consumers organizations and Congress — to pass Dairy Bill S1645 now, so that we may continue to operate and move in a positive direction for the future.

We don’t need more Band-Aid proposals, new organizations claiming the farmer’s voice or to waste anymore time waiting for the 2012 farm bill, which holds no promises or guarantees.

Thus, the solution is a cost of production for all farmers, import and export regulations including milk protein concentrates and caseins, supply management, if needed, and no burden to taxpayers or our nation’s debt.

We need to support the solution, pass it and give Dairy Bill S1645 a chance to start working and sustaining the well-being of us all. Sign on in support of S1645 at www.supports1645.webs.com.

Editor’s Note: Grahn is a dairy farmer in Pelican Rapids, Minn.

Tags: