Saturday, March 6, 2010

Revisit of Parity

(click on image to enlarge)

A while back, I posted a graph which showed milk production was unaffected by the end of parity. The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) publishes data on food availability. The above graph shows the food availability for dairy annually after accounting for processing and storage losses in the time period in which parity was ended.

Most experts try to keep your eyes focused on the fact of government purchases of dairy products. I maintain those purchases were for the sole purposes of driving down input costs to processors.

From 1982,at:

Last December it seemed a safe enough observation that the dairy lobby was the biggest loser when the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981 was approved by two votes in the House after earlier passing the Senate by the far more comfortable margin of 65-31.[1]

It is not uncommon, however, for a legislative victory to dissolve before the victor has a chance to savor it. The Reagan administration discovered this anew in May 1982 when it admitted that despite its successful efforts in the 1981 Farm Bill to keep dairy price support levels from rising, the continuing overproduction of dairy products for 1982 was expected to cost the government a record high $1.94 billion. Or as Agriculture Secretary John Block put it in his press conference in May, American taxpayers were being charged at the rate of $250,000 an hour to pay for surplus dairy products which American consumers were unwilling to purchase voluntarily.

Naturally, the Cato Institute and their ilk continue, to this day, to keep us informed about the greed of those who actually work and produce something in this country. Cato claims their goal is, "to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, lay public in questions of (public) policy and the proper role of government."

So, here we are today with, if we can follow Cato's logic, the government's role is to do nothing while dairy farmers bleed.


  1. What is the per capita dairy available today?

  2. The amount has continued to fall according to USDA data. In 2007 & 08 the amount was 186.9 lbs per capita.