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Old 05-24-2009, 05:04 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,208 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCGranny View Post
Bluntly, BT, I think that selling it on your own thru a co-operative effort is a lot better idea than dumping it. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame you for feeling the way that you do - but I just can't see a Maine Milk Party having any more effect than this past year's Tea Parties. The government pretty much figures that dairy farmers, cattle ranchers, and all other producers are on the hook now, between gubbermint subsidies and controls and the dairy conglomerates; so they figure if you dump the milk you will just lose money that you can't afford to lose, and end up being taken over by a corporate farming engine - which suits the suits perfectly.

I'd say that the only way to beat them at their own game is to do an end-run around them and form a co-op - an independent group.

I realize that you have little use for the niche market of whole raw milk; but World Foods is making a killing off of it and all of their 'organic' produce, especially their cheeses. Maybe it's time they had some competition from people who know how...
I hear ya...but just to be sure...this is not a Maine Milk Party but a NATIONAL Milk Party.

It is perfectly legal to sell raw milk in the state of Maine (one of few states that allow it), but here its not very profitable. I had a guy mention this last year and how silly we were for selling our milk at such low prices, he was making $60 per hundred weight.

Last month he sold his cows and put a for sale sign up on his farm. Unfortunately when the economy went bad, people stopped buying milk and ultimately it cost him dearly. With so much overhead from financing his bottling plant, it sunk him. In fact so did a bunch of organic farmers in Maine when the creamery they used pulled the plug on them. A few went back to conventional, but some just went completely under. One farm is investing a lot into their own bottling system just because they got too much invested in organic, and yet they are too far removed from ANY creamery to take their milk. The County Extension person helping them set this up says its a Hail Mary attempt, but he doesn't think they will make it.

The sad part is, I predicted this a year ago. This is the exact same set-up that occurred in the late 70's-80's. The price of oil went really high, then when the economy went into recession, the price of oil came down. With it farm profits tanked and it cost more to grow the food products then it did to buy it. That caused 915 farmers to take a bullet to the temple rather then see their farms go. Not many remember that any more, but I do and it was a real epidemic. I think with ethanol production, the mid-western corn growers will be okay this time around, but I think the suicide rates of dairy farmers is about to drastically go up.

I hope I am wrong.
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Old 05-24-2009, 06:43 AM
 
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CWT is much more effective than dumping milk.

In the early 80's there was seious talk about US going to a quota system ( similar to Canada's).
The problem was processers opposed it and it soon disappeared from the news.
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Old 05-24-2009, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,536,988 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
I hear ya...but just to be sure...this is not a Maine Milk Party but a NATIONAL Milk Party.

It is perfectly legal to sell raw milk in the state of Maine (one of few states that allow it), but here its not very profitable. I had a guy mention this last year and how silly we were for selling our milk at such low prices, he was making $60 per hundred weight.

Last month he sold his cows and put a for sale sign up on his farm. Unfortunately when the economy went bad, people stopped buying milk and ultimately it cost him dearly. With so much overhead from financing his bottling plant, it sunk him. In fact so did a bunch of organic farmers in Maine when the creamery they used pulled the plug on them. A few went back to conventional, but some just went completely under. One farm is investing a lot into their own bottling system just because they got too much invested in organic, and yet they are too far removed from ANY creamery to take their milk. The County Extension person helping them set this up says its a Hail Mary attempt, but he doesn't think they will make it.

The sad part is, I predicted this a year ago. This is the exact same set-up that occurred in the late 70's-80's. The price of oil went really high, then when the economy went into recession, the price of oil came down. With it farm profits tanked and it cost more to grow the food products then it did to buy it. That caused 915 farmers to take a bullet to the temple rather then see their farms go. Not many remember that any more, but I do and it was a real epidemic. I think with ethanol production, the mid-western corn growers will be okay this time around, but I think the suicide rates of dairy farmers is about to drastically go up.

I hope I am wrong.
I don't think that you ARE wrong. I note that locally corporate purchases of family cattle ranches at auction are up. My son in NV says that corporate farms are being built everywhere there too; they are being snatched up as soon as a distressed farm property comes on the market. And Ethanol is turning out to be a boondoggle that may bite the corn growers in the wazoo as well. I do remember the panics and losses of the farmers in that recession; it was quite horrible.

I'm sorry, perhaps I wasn't quite clear about it. I know that the niche market of organics only works when people have disposable income. I was thinking more about a local co-op that produced competitive milk (not necessarily raw, but inclusive of raw) prices for local folk; i.e., Mainers only sell locally, Texans only sell locally, etc.

The problems I forsee are a lot like the one we have here. For years there hasn't been a grocery store; folks have to drive 40 miles one way to shop. So a group got together and are trying to get grants to open a grocery store, staffed with volunteers from the local school, etc. What they have been told by the grant writers is, as near as I can determine, a total lie - that they can buy locally produced produce, milk and eggs from backyard gardens and sell it in their store. It has always been my understanding that places that produce vegetables, eggs, milk, etc; if they try to sell publicly must have all sorts of inspections and qualifications to do so from State and sometimes even Fed folk. Especially since they are trying to do this on State and Fed grants, these governments will become more intrusive, and these folks will only be able to run a bare minimum of products, with most local produce being excluded by law. (Ex. my best friend runs a restaurant, and cannot buy my eggs or vegies, or my neighbors' fresh-home-slaughtered grassfed beef, to feed others, but only herself.)

But you fellas who own your own dairies already have all of the certifications you need to sell your product, and local control over it would enhance your profits greatly. Local dairies instead of statewide or national ones, with the certifications already in place, could compete price-wise against the national chains.

My emphasis on World Food Market was solely to illustrate the fact that they utilize many local farmers' products, and have the power to certify them to meet their established criteria. A co-operative group could do the same, in every state, utilizing your concept of regionalism.
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Old 05-24-2009, 11:35 AM
 
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I will reply when I get more time SCGranny, but in the meantime you can read up on how the price of Maine milk is dreamed up. I say dreamed up because no one can fully understand how the pricing works.

I was told a few years ago that a mathematician was given the formula and even he could not fully understand how the price for Maine milk was arrived at. At the same time, the price he got was a full $2 below that of what the Gov said it should be...and this was when farmers were getting an all-time high for their milk!

Anyway read up and if you can figure it out please let me know...it's a bit confusing to say the least!

Maine Milk Commission: How Prices are Established
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:15 AM
 
Location: Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
That was tried by the NFO about 35 years ago.

The only thing it accomplished was farmers having a smaller milk check in the month they dumped milk and lenders mad as hell at them cuz many were already in financial trouble.
What we've seen when NFO (and other groups) tried this over and over again, throughout the years, was that, at the meetings, "everybody" agreed but on the day 90% of the farmers shipped .
Getting farmers to work together is like herding cats.
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
What we've seen when NFO (and other groups) tried this over and over again, throughout the years, was that, at the meetings, "everybody" agreed but on the day 90% of the farmers shipped .
Getting farmers to work together is like herding cats.
Of course farmers would not really have to lose money on the deal. I supposed it would look kind of funny if 50,000 dairy farmers all on the same weekend accidentally milked hospital cows and got contamination in the tank and had to dump it on the ground...pretty hard for the insurance companies to prove otherwise???

I agree with you though. Farmers tend to talk tough but fail to get together on things. The thing is, with the governments famine reserves now obliterated, and only 1% of this nation feeding the other 99%, if we could get together we would have incredible power. If people thought the oil companies had a strangle hold on the economy, imagine what would occur if people started going without food!

But here is the kicker. The farmers have really got a good reputation with the American Consumers and I think in this day and age, they realize it is not the farmers that are profiting from high grocery prices. The retail price of milk, beef, and chicken are all up, despite the fact that farmer gate prices are all down. Can we all say profiteering by the middlemen? Still dumping milk and forcing tighter food supplies will hurt our reputation...something we have not always had.

Incidentally, if it was not for Swine Flu putting the sales of pork into decline (even though it has nothing to do with eating pork) the Pork industry would be probably up as well.
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Old 05-25-2009, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,536,988 times
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BT, thanks for the link - and all I can say is "HUNH?" Let's see, Maine takes a hypothetical model of how a processing plant should operate at the minimum cost, adjusts it for Maine and New England equivalents, and that is what they are 'allowed' to charge? 'Way too many X's and Y's there!!! And that was just one variable...

I agree that folks are currently in favor of farmers, but a marketwide revolt like dumping milk is going to bring out the media mavens, who will do stories like "This family can't afford to buy their babies' milk, but these greedy milk producers are thowing it on the ground!" Protestors are either ridiculed or chastized by the media, who think that governmental controls are the way to go in any situation, no matter how specious they are. No investigation, no correction of governmentally ordained milk prices, only an attack on those "big conglomerate rich so-called family farmers with their fancy steel buildings and milking machines that don't even provide employment for other people" will be the result.
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:15 AM
 
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BT---maybe where you live consumers are favorable to farmers, I have to question it here.

I live in the latgest dairy county in Minnesota, and whenever an article about struggling farmers appears in the St Cloud Times, the coments left are downright nasty !

------" Quit you're crying"--------" I'm tired of farmers getting subsidies"--------" huge corporate farms are the way of the future, sell out and quit "------

If our farm got approached by the St Cloud Times about an article on dairy farmers, I would refuse rather than be subjected to all the ridicule.

I think farmers still got a good reputation in cities of about 25,000 or smaller. In bigger cities, many don't care one eyota.
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:48 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,683,788 times
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CWT just announced the number of farms they accepted in their 7th buyout plan

CWT = "co-operatives working together "
The co-ops that enter this program have each farmer contribute to a few cents per hwt on their milk to finance their buyout programs.

This is buyout #7.
Farmers who wish to enter the buyout submit a bid. If your bid is accepted, you are paid a payment based on the number of pound of milk you produced the year before.
Your entire herd must then go to slaughter to reduce the supply of milk and hopefully raise prices for all.

388 farms have been accepted in this buyout.
103,000 cows will go to slaughter
2 Billion pounds of milk was produced by those cows last year

----------------------breakdown by regions of the US---------
---bids accepted---------# of cows accepted-----milk accepted---
NE-----42-------------------5,156----------------104.7 million pounds
SE----56--------------------7,042----------------117.3 million pounds
Midwest-134-----------------8,595---------------208 million pounds
SW------58-----------------43,807---------------862.8 million pounds
West----88------------------38,498--------------781.1 million pounds

(and this program is100 % financed by dairy farmers----not the govt )
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:54 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,208 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
CWT just announced the number of farms they accepted in their 7th buyout plan

CWT = "co-operatives working together "
The co-ops that enter this program have each farmer contribute to a few cents per hwt on their milk to finance their buyout programs
Marmac...just to be clear, when I referred to CWT I mean it as 100 pounds of milk, or per hundred weight. The C being latin for the numeral 100.

We do belong to...dare I say it...the DFA (Dairy Farmers of America). We are kind of at odds with them now versus a new barn however.

Must go...headed out the door...more later!
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