Essentially, the editor Thomas J. Quaife, has come to the conclusion that there is simply too much milk and no other thoughts on low farm milk price are worthy of discussion.
Not everyone was happy with the editorial. This is an email written to Tom Quaife:
Date: Sunday, October 18, 2009, 8:16 PM
I was very disappointed to read your editorial in the October 2009 publication. I thought this publication was a publication representing the American Dairy Farmer. I was obviously wrong. I am appalled that an Agricultural magazine editor would right such an editorial taunting the dairy farmer for standing up for their right to a fair price for our product and demanding investigations into these unfair practices.
We have been told by politicians that farmer's must unite. Farmer's all over the country are leaving their farms to attend meetings to identify the problems and solutions to this volatile market and are working together across the regions. At the same time, agricultural media is placing wedges between the farmers. Who needs enemies when we have friends like this from our Agricultural media.
Obviously, you are not a dairy farmer trying to survive. Over the last 10 years our market volatility has been unbearable. The U.S. is the dumping ground for the world's surplus at the US farmer's expense. Dean's Foods points out they pay the highest regulated price. I believe it is the MINIMUM price to be paid. We have a federal minimum wage - why is it employer's pay more than the minimum wage. I don't know why the dairy farmer is the only one who only gets the minimum.
I agree with you that the retail end should also be evaluated, but we need to start somewhere. Big Food industry has way too much power in Washington!
May I ask who encouraged you to write this editorial? I'm sure it wasn't the dairy farmer!
If this is how Dairy Herd Management is going to write, I do not need to continue my subscription.
Dairy Farmer, NY
Quaife yields no ground and replies:
Yes, I could act like a politician and do the “politically correct” thing and go after the “big bad processors.”
But that would not be providing the truth to the dairy-farm audience that I serve.
The truth of the matter is, low milk prices are a matter of supply and demand, not coercion on the part of processors. Exports declined in the global recession, restaurant business dropped off, etc. And, it didn’t help that we increased milk production as much as we did when prices were high.
I appreciate the fact that you took the time to write to me – and apparently begin a letter-writing campaign. I just hope your energies can be directed toward some things that will really make a difference (e.g., fixing parts of the Federal Milk Marketing Order System or finding ways to control over-supply) rather than chasing straw dogs.
If farm milk prices are a matter of supply and demand, there should be a formula which, with the appropriate data, could be plugged into a computer and totally eliminate the need for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. So far, I have not seen dedicated conventional thinkers propose such a formula.
Most any economics 101 text will have at least some discussion of "market power", which can be summarized as something the American dairy farmers do not have.