The other day I went into a feed mill and I spoke with the owner and asked him, “When you sell your feed, do you try to cover your cost?” He said, “Man, I have to cover my cost or I would be out of business!” Sound familiar?
Later on I visited a large implement dealer and asked him the same question. He said, “Of course I have to cover my cost!” He further asked, “When are our dairy farmers going to realize they must cover their costs?”
Many dairy farmers must realize that if they can’t cover their cost of operation, then they will be out of business.
I said to the two business people the following: “Do you realize that the pricing formula the USDA uses to price milk to the dairy farmer does not consider the dairy farmers’ cost of production?” They replied, “Why not?” I said because only a few of us show up at milk hearings to consider the pricing formula for dairy farmers. I also said that others complain about the PPD, inadequate formula for Class I milk (bottled milk) and other items.
I left the business people and I asked myself, “Why not? Why not a new pricing formula for dairy farmers? Why are dairy farmers always at the bottom of the totem pole?”
If dairy farmers don’t wake up and support the efforts for a new pricing formula, then thousands more dairy farmers will bite the dust. It’s got to be now or never.
When business people say they must cover their cost, then when are dairy farmers going to learn the same? Don’t count on other people doing it for you! Maybe dairy farmers are following the wrong people and organizations? Maybe it’s time for the average dairy farmer to follow the advice of our late friend Ken Dibbell. Put on your bib overalls, grab a pitchfork, and let’s do something about your pricing issues!
Arden Tewksbury is manager of Progressive Agriculture Organization based in Meshoppen.