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Old 03-29-2009, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,687 posts, read 49,469,539 times
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Maine dairy subsidies pinched - Boston.com (http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2009/03/29/maine_dairy_subsidies_pinched/?rss_id=Boston.com+--+Maine+news - broken link)

Retail milk prices are remaining about the same, but farmers are being paid only half what they were last summer.

The Maine Sunday Telegram reports that in July, Maine dairy farmers were getting $24.03 for 100 pounds of milk, and now are receiving $12.67 for 100 pounds.

A subsidy system was established in 2003, but the future of the Maine Dairy Stabilization Tier program is unclear due to budget constraints.

Between 1980 and now the number of dairy farms in Maine has dropped from nearly 2,000 to about 330.
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Old 03-30-2009, 03:52 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,127,724 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forest beekeeper View Post
Maine dairy subsidies pinched - Boston.com (http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2009/03/29/maine_dairy_subsidies_pinched/?rss_id=Boston.com+--+Maine+news - broken link)

Retail milk prices are remaining about the same, but farmers are being paid only half what they were last summer.

The Maine Sunday Telegram reports that in July, Maine dairy farmers were getting $24.03 for 100 pounds of milk, and now are receiving $12.67 for 100 pounds.

A subsidy system was established in 2003, but the future of the Maine Dairy Stabilization Tier program is unclear due to budget constraints.

Between 1980 and now the number of dairy farms in Maine has dropped from nearly 2,000 to about 330.
The Maine Dairy Farm Initiative needs to be in place. It clearly showed that we produce enough milk in this state to supply the demand in this state...both in organic milk and conventional milk. The problem is other areas of the country over-produce milk for their regions and are desperately looking to flood the market here. Other farmers in other states were crying foul all due to jealousy, when the truth was, it was a dramatic piece of legislation that was very progressive. It took into account the difficult regional nature of farming in Maine and not the one-size-fits-all approach that is often dealt to farmers in every state.

In the short term, consumers would have lower prices on milk if say milk from New York State was allowed to flood the market here, but as more and more Maine dairy farmers went under, the price would steadily rise. In my honest opinion, the Maine Dairy Farm Initiative kept the price where consumers did not get raked over the coals, and yet farmers had a price they could live with.

The key thing to keep in mind is, farms contribute to a community more then just economically. Without farms such simple things as fields that offer vistas of the distance mountains, wholesale livestock for homesteaders to purchase, and just the overall quaint Maine "feel" to this state which tourists seem to enjoy. It is in every Mainer's best interest to preserve these farms. We are truly in a battle to maintain our long established way of life, and yet few people see that they need to get involved and do something about it. That is the sad part...
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:28 AM
 
Location: On a Slow-Sinking Granite Rock Up North
3,637 posts, read 5,400,201 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
The Maine Dairy Farm Initiative needs to be in place. It clearly showed that we produce enough milk in this state to supply the demand in this state...both in organic milk and conventional milk. The problem is other areas of the country over-produce milk for their regions and are desperately looking to flood the market here. Other farmers in other states were crying foul all due to jealousy, when the truth was, it was a dramatic piece of legislation that was very progressive. It took into account the difficult regional nature of farming in Maine and not the one-size-fits-all approach that is often dealt to farmers in every state.

In the short term, consumers would have lower prices on milk if say milk from New York State was allowed to flood the market here, but as more and more Maine dairy farmers went under, the price would steadily rise. In my honest opinion, the Maine Dairy Farm Initiative kept the price where consumers did not get raked over the coals, and yet farmers had a price they could live with.

The key thing to keep in mind is, farms contribute to a community more then just economically. Without farms such simple things as fields that offer vistas of the distance mountains, wholesale livestock for homesteaders to purchase, and just the overall quaint Maine "feel" to this state which tourists seem to enjoy. It is in every Mainer's best interest to preserve these farms. We are truly in a battle to maintain our long established way of life, and yet few people see that they need to get involved and do something about it. That is the sad part...
I am always sad to see another dairy farm go away - only to be replaced by another subdivision. I have discussed the need to support dairy farms ad nausem with my reps. I'm afraid that it will be yet another one of those "don't know whatcha got until it's gone" moments for many.

Last edited by cebdark; 03-30-2009 at 06:30 AM.. Reason: added something
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
9,777 posts, read 14,959,939 times
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About 20 years ago, Hood sent two tank trucks a day to Weston and Danforth. There were huge dairy farms there. Today there is not a cow in those towns. The bureaucracy will make all kinds of pronouncements about the economy, but Forest is right on.

I'll take it a step further. There is a program in place to drive industry out of Maine. It has been called "rural cleansing". It is just as vicious as ethnic cleansing in other countries. It is working. A decade ago there was a newspaper in Maine called All Maine Matters. All of Maine does matter and that paper covered what is really happening. They had quotes from leaders in the environmental industry.

"'Protecting the Environment' is a ruse. The goal is the political and economic subjugation of most men by the few, under the guise of preserving nature."
J. H. Robbins

Tick tick tick

(Just a thought on a dreary rainy morning.)
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:38 AM
 
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More disturbing was a recent Vice President that thankfully never became President though he was close. His theory was pretty scary....turn farms into developments because you can tax developments at a much higher per acre basis then farms. He is right, but it would mean our food would come from other countries. What could go wrong with that plan?

This is not a small farm versus large farm issue...we need to preserve some farmland in this state no matter what they grow for crops.
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Maine
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BT, do you know how much milk and how many milk products are shipped into Maine?
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Old 03-30-2009, 04:24 PM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,127,724 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Writer View Post
BT, do you know how much milk and how many milk products are shipped into Maine?
No because it goes by demand. Maine is really neat in that we typically have enough supply and demand for milk. For instance even though the organic milk market is struggling, on the very day Hood was dropping the organic farms East and Northward, they were literally calling our farm and yelling for milk. (We had got delayed that morning and it messed up the truck schedule and they needed the milk for the weekend's supply). This is not an organic milk versus regular milk issue...people just don't have the money to pay for organic milk, but they aren't dropping milk from their diet...just going to a lower price milk.

We have lost farms in total, but the production of the few farms that are left, have gone up so we are meeting our needs...overall. Sometimes though the demand for milk surpasses what we can provide, and sometimes we exceed what Mainer's are buying, it is these times that milk goes in and out of state.

Summer is a time when we typically over-supply our state and that is because crops are of higher quality (fresh green grass, and the School Lunch Program is on summer recess).

We are typically in under-supply in January for a crazy reason...milk to supply cheese for the pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday.

Interestingly enough, before the Maine Dairy Initiative our milk on two of the three farms went out of state. Those two farms actually went to supply McDonald's with powdered milk for their milk shakes. That formula has changed now and the majority is actually make up of cellulose from wood products! (or at least that was what I was told by a USDA source last week) Now all three farms have their milk stay in state with two supplying milk under the Garelict Farms Label and one under the Oakhurst Label.

The Maine Dairy Inative actually worked and was truly a success for the Localvore movement. Maine is a big state, but by far and large, milk consumed here, came from here and that is/was a good thing. The ones that got upset were other dairy farms in other parts of the country. Unfortunately, farmers in this country often hurt each other without knowing it. Instead of taking their jealousy out on a progressive farming idea, they should have tried to do the same thing there. Their statement and Iquote "If it is so hard to make a living dairy farming in Maine, then that state should not produce milk!" (Huh?)

Milk produced here, stayed here while consumers were not over-paying, and Maine farms were making enough money to make it all work...what a great concept.
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:41 PM
 
Location: Maine
6,053 posts, read 11,433,581 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
For instance even though the organic milk market is struggling, on the very day Hood was dropping the organic farms East and Northward, they were literally calling our farm and yelling for milk.
More milk for less money doesn't sound like a good idea. What would happen if farmers started doing something else with the milk? Are you bound by contract?
Quote:
We are typically in under-supply in January for a crazy reason...milk to supply cheese for the pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday.
Isn't that wild!

Quote:
Interestingly enough, before the Maine Dairy Initiative our milk on two of the three farms went out of state. Those two farms actually went to supply McDonald's with powdered milk for their milk shakes. That formula has changed now and the majority is actually make up of cellulose from wood products!
It's in toothpastes, breads and more. If I wanted to eat a tree I'd be a beaver. If I want a milkshake I want a MILKshake. One of my weaknesses was a hot chocolate type drink. When they changed the recipe to include cellulose I stopped drinking it. You should have pieces of your drink stuck to your tongue.
Quote:
The Maine Dairy Inative actually worked and was truly a success for the Localvore movement. Maine is a big state, but by far and large, milk consumed here, came from here and that is/was a good thing. The ones that got upset were other dairy farms in other parts of the country. Unfortunately, farmers in this country often hurt each other without knowing it. Instead of taking their jealousy out on a progressive farming idea, they should have tried to do the same thing there. Their statement and Iquote "If it is so hard to make a living dairy farming in Maine, then that state should not produce milk!" (Huh?)
Doing something in a different manner makes others nervous some times. Not being a one-size fits all shouldn't mean it's a bad thing - unless you're the person who can't make it work. I think it happens in most ag products. Working against each other instead of in support drives me nuts.

Quote:
Milk produced here, stayed here while consumers were not over-paying, and Maine farms were making enough money to make it all work...what a great concept.
How Does Seth Bradstreet fit into this? Is there anything he can do to get this back on track?
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Northern Maine
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In 1940 Maine had 6,250,000 acres of pasture and cultivated ground. Today we have just over a million. In my lifetime we have gained an average of 77,000 acres a year of forest. Nearly all that lost ag land went into trees. Very little agricultural land went into homesites. Even homesites are going back to forest as our population leaves. I can't count the old cellar holes and falling down houses I see in the woods.

Of course there are places where farm land has turned into subdivisions. Those places are Long Island, NY, central NJ, eastern PA and much of Delaware.

When the environmental industry says we have lost some land what they really mean is that they didn't get to control it. The land is stil there, growing trees. It takes a lot of work to prevent a forest in Maine. Just ask any utility company. Just skip mowing a field for two years and you will have alders and popple as tall as a man.
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Old 03-31-2009, 04:57 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,127,724 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Writer View Post
More milk for less money doesn't sound like a good idea. What would happen if farmers started doing something else with the milk? Are you bound by contract?
There is some stuff going on with the USDA allowing or mandating more milk to go into more products. I am not sure 100% of what this is exactly as it happened either yesterday or is happening today. Either way it is supposed to drive up the wholesale price of milk for dairy farmers across the country.

I go to some Dairy Farmer Forums and waiting to see what they say about the proposed USDA tries at getting milk prices up. These guys know way more then I do regarding this stuff.

Note: In 45 minutes the much 2009 anticipated plantings report is coming out, so it will really shape what happens to the dairy farmers and our profits. Agday feels total corn acreage will be down this year, and perhaps ethanol requirements in gasoline to go to 12-15 percent which will drive the price of grain higher, further reducing profitability on a dairy farm.

Welcome to agriculture in 2009 huh? Talk about trying to stay up to the minute on stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Writer View Post
How Does Seth Bradstreet fit into this? Is there anything he can do to get this back on track?
John Piotti is the man that has the most clout in this state in terms of agriculture. I was told that if he had not practically held the pen for John Bald-crotchy to sign the Maine Ag Bill in 2006 most dairy farms in Maine would have gone under...including ours.

He is also in charge of the Maine FarmLink program and is really trying to preserve Maine Farms.The program is not perfect by any means. The first farm to sign up for preservation in this county, was acquired by Emminant Domain by the state of Maine to build the new High School here. They could have chosen the land to the right of the school...a development up for sale, but the price per acre was higher then taking the farm signed up for preservation on the left. It was not right and instantly the many, many farmers that had signed up for farm preservation here withdrew from the program. It kind of showed that the preservation easement did not really amount to much.

Maybe today the easement language has been fortified and this cannot happen? I don't know but at least the preservation agreement is better then nothing.

I really like the idea of the Maine FarmLink program which can unite prospective existing by aging older farmers with new farmers looking for a farm to acquire. Unfortunately I think the ratio of available farms, to farmers wanting a farm is pretty tilted towards the seekers outdoing the existing farms by quite a bit. I actually looked into putting my place on the FarmLink program as farmland to be leased, but then that has it's own set of issues so I decided I would more actively farm this place myself.

Just some interesting history on farming here. There is a lot to it...and even more than I do not know of course. As I have said many times, don't go by me, I am just a dumb farmer.

Last edited by BrokenTap; 03-31-2009 at 05:10 AM.. Reason: corrected mispelled words and added text
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