Saturday, November 7, 2009


The Bureau of Labor Statistics Table U6 is:

Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers

While the headlines proclaim unemployment at 10%, the broadest measure shows the unemployment is about 17.5% - the highest since data has been collected.

Few can sell the cows and get a job any time soon. But, tomorrow is another day and the cows will have have to be milked.

Maybe I have missed it, but, there seems to be no broad discussion of thoughts on how farm milk should be priced.

Is milk simply a commodity and can all of America's interest in milk production be reduced to unchecked greed?


  1. John,
    Here's a topic that should be foremost in all our minds-we farmers have got to quit bitching and carping about how bad things are and start discussing and coming together on how milk must be priced in the future; this industry has to have this discussion. We must reach some consensus we can then take to Congress and demand reform.
    Sen. Gillibrand and others seems most determined to reform farm milk pricing. She has said publicly she wants the pricing system divoriced from the C.M.E. She's more than half right!
    Thing is; we farmers have to give her some clear, coherent opinion what the new system should be. To do that we farmers, God help us, have to form some settled opinion. To do that we better start hashing out a unified demand.
    If we don't we'll wind up with what ever the bastards in suits want so they can start picking our pockets all over again.
    If we farmers are stupid enough to let this process get hi-jacked again by the processors,big co-ops, and other theiving assholes represented by the National Milk Producers Federation and those of similar ilk we farmers deserve the shafting we're gonna get!
    John Bunting, with this blog, has given us the best vehicle we now have to start this conversation. Let's get off our asses and get on with it! If we don't we'll just have another half-assed equally asinine system imposed on us! We must participate and guide this discussion towards our own ends.
    Let's get on with it... who's got some ideas on reforming milk pricing?
    Nate Wilson

  2. Trying to fight for milk prices and change just did not start. 15 years ago i remember going to meetings fighting the milk prices. Never got the support from famers. what did they do go home and make more milk shoot the cows with BST.

    This should have never came to what situation we are in now. Should of been handled years ago.

  3. Here we go again, John; the second comment is a graphic example of some more mindless bitching! What happened 15 years ago is of no consequence: WHAT DO WE DO NOW??? We have to move foward... the price formula and supply management are our battleground now... who has something constructive to offer?
    Nate Wilson.

  4. Not my day... was about done with this once and lost my comment, so here it goes agian.

    I try to follow current events and as some of you may have heard the last time the "official" unemplyment number was over 10% was back in 1983 - 26 years ago. But as John has so aptly pointed out, the real story is sometimes in-between the lines. The actual number of unemployed is much higher than the official number. Another point missed by most, is that in 1983 we had 75 million less people in this country, so 10% now vs. then is 7.5 million more unemployed! This is a huge problem folks and it needs to be addressed and quick.

    Now on to Mr. Wilson;
    You and I have both seen plenty of good ideas to change the milk pricing system and help the dairy farmers in this country... I say ideas abound, but unified resolve not only to put the ideas forth but carry them to fruition is lacking.
    I have studied farmer strikes from the most resent in South America and Europe back to recorded peasant strikes and none were ever very successful (at least not for long).
    So as not to seem seditious I'll stop short of saying we need to form a true dairy union. Instead I recommend a body of true dairymen and close friends as lobbiest - we will need to work within the system we have and this seems to be the way things get done in this country.
    This would probably be a full-time job for the folks we might be able to assemble, and to collect such a crew and fund them will be a monumental undertaking and something never before done in this fashion. We would have to find the best of the best, the cream of the crop if you will. Folks that represent all dairymen, from the Amish to the Mega dairy. People who work for, and speak for, all the farmers in this industry. Again these need to be folks that truely know farmers and can articulate the needs of the industry without betraying the trust of those they represent; unlike the guys who wear "girly shoes" who think they know what's best for us and currently speak for us, oftentimes not in our best interest.
    I know this is a lofty goal but if achived it could be our best bet.
    Jeff Suehring

  5. I elect John Bunting to head up the union.

  6. i may be bitching, but no matter what you do you cannot get the farmers to agree on any thing.

    Nate, get your ideas to together and start the ball rolling. You seem to know alot. Every idea is worth something, because if we wait any longer for Washington we may as well kiss the cows good bye.

    And besides we are all in this together instead of bashing each other ,Nate.

    have a good day

  7. Can farmers unionize? Is it allowed by law? What we need is a IDFA type organization but for milk producers. One led by the likes of Bunting, Tewksbury and others. One that puts forth a radical, one sided point of view much like the processors do when they testify before congress. DFA and other co-ops are tied to both manufacting and their member producers, so they can't represent both fairly. So when deals get made it's always towards the processor side. We need this representation to lobby for our best interest. I can't understand why with the internet, membership couldn't grow very fast. I'd be willing to pay for this service on my behalf. I don't belong to a co-op or farm bureau so I guess I have no one to represent me. Doesn't DFA and other co-ops contract to it's members mention political representation as a benefit? Does this mean DFA and others have the exclusive right to lobby on their behalf. Would their contract exclude them from joining a "union" or other organization?

  8. John,
    I would ask the author of comment #6 to indulge me with a little patience as I am in the very process suggested in paragraph #2... I started this yesterday morning,and it always takes me a while to sort out my thoughts.I'm going at the project as an essay or op-ed I want to share with Sen. Gillibrand as some "grind" for her thought process mill in the hope she can grist it into something useful.
    My general direction is removal of the CME as a basis, to be replaced by some sort of indexing based on retail prices coupled with a practical farmer controled supply management scheme...
    To complacate things I have a Steamburg Milk Co-Op semi-anual meeting to distribute some Milkweed's at tonight,but I am working on collecting my thoughts and I'll be glad to share them,such as they are,especially if it will begin a discussion. Nate Wilson