Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Madison DOJ/USDA

One of the larger disappointments of 2010, and there are many, is the hearing in Madison, Wisconsin on June 25,2010

DOJ conducted an investigation in the southeast and has boxes, upon boxes of information on DFA. There are multiple antitrust lawsuits against DFA, mainly because USDA and DOJ have not done their job.

Yet the panels are stacked with DFA people.
Jerrel Heatwole:

John Wilson:

Then there is Ed King on the board of Dairylea (district 12), a wholly owned part of DFA.
Ed is a nominal "farmer", more a per diem farmer.

Then you have Denny Wolff, partner, Versant Strategies, and former Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture. Altria, which used to be Philip Morris, owner of Kraft. Monsanto, which until recent sold Posilac. Wolff tried to work on Monsanto's behalf while Secretary in ramming through a labeling requirement on rbST. You can make an argument in favor of rbST but, it is only a microeconomic argument. In the big picture, rbST has not helped dairy farmers.

Of course what panel would be complete without Robert Yonkers, vice president and chief economist, International Dairy Foods Association.

The litmus test for these two huge government agencies, USDA and DOJ to follow would be, do those on the panels serve the public's interest. On this simple test USDA and DOJ have failed. The meeting will be a cheer leading session for the status quo.


  1. I know it's wishful thinking, but maybe the DOJ has invited them to speak, hoping they will hang themselves and will be able to use what they say against them.

  2. Another case of the fox guarding the henhouse. Stacking this panel with these usual fools means nothing fruitful will come of it. Farmers should boycot this and let DOJ and USDA know why they are doing it, but at all times realistically farmers have to at least try to get their voice heard so that probably isn't a good idea. I am surprised at no mention of someone from NMPF to push their new mandatory $.25 CWT program though.

  3. Statement: DFA Prepares for USDA/DOJ Dairy Workshop

    KANSAS CITY, Mo., June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was released today by Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA):

    "DFA was created by and operates on behalf of dairy farmers throughout the United States. We will attend the USDA/DOJ workshop in Madison, Wis., to support the value and benefits the Capper-Volstead Act provides to all dairy farmers, including DFA members. The workshop will provide an opportunity to talk about the 17,000 farm families we work to support every day.

    "While a very small but vocal group has tried to cast a negative shadow on today's cooperatives, we are proud of our efforts to support our members and hope the Madison workshop will provide a forum for fair and productive discussion about the industry.

    "Our nation's dairy farmers, including DFA members, are reeling from the worst economic situation they have ever seen. We appreciate the increased attention and focus on the dairy industry, and welcome others to join us in pushing for dairy policy changes that will bring much-needed relief to the farm.

    "We fully support the open and transparent process these workshops provide, and are confident dairy cooperatives in general -- and DFA in particular -- will be seen as the vital tool for dairy farmers that they've always been."

    John Wilson, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Industry Affairs

    SOURCE Dairy Farmers of America, Inc

    Pardon me while I clean the puke off my screen..............


  4. Since when is 17,000 a small group? Do they not realize that it is the farmers, the ones who own DFA, that want the DOJ to investigate them?

    Does DFA really expect us to believe the statement "We appreciate the increased attention and focus on the dairy industry and welcome others to join us in pushing for dairy policy changes?" They expect us to believe that they welcome this investigation and they really want changes? Give me a break.

    And if they support the "transparent process the workshops provide", then why don't they support the questions for the transparency of their financial statement? Have they answered the letter from the farmer asking for the salaries and compensation of the executives? Have they opened the books to show the money vacuum of the "side ventures" which have returned no value to the farmers who own the coop?

  5. Just as you said John. The statement from DFA would be laughable if there were any laughs left. Farmers are getting about half of what they deserve, and the other half is used to support the status quo.

  6. What will happen to the small farmers who make up the coops if their antitrust exemption is removed? Can a 60 cow dairy compete on price/supply with a 5000 cow dairy?

  7. Here goes again- lets fight between us about size of dairy- get over it-in a fair market there is room for all-get to the real issues and quit fighting within!!!!!

  8. Posted for Sherry:

    I was disappointed in how you characterized Dennis Wolff as a panelist at the DOJ / USDA hearing Friday. He testified on behalf of the Dairy Policy Action Coalition (DPAC), which is 100% farmer run. The coalition is grassroots and funded by donations by farmers and their supporting farm service companies with the main focus on truth and transparency. Denny's testimony was quite good. The fact that he was involved in the rbST thing in the past has nothing whatsoever to do with his work as a government relations consultant for DPAC. Maybe you should have heard his testimony before trying to connect-those-dots. You can think what you want about Denny's past involvements but they are not at all relevant to his work for DPAC as he is not running the focus of the dairy farmers' efforts in this coalition, even though his perspective is appreciated. A lot of farmers, and myself, have put countless hours and cost into the DPAC effort. I saw Pete Hardin there in Wisconsin. We both agreed Herb Kohl's comments relative to CME were the bright spot. Some of the focus on CME has been aided by the lobbying and communications efforts of DPAC and of Denny on behalf of DPAC. Whether or not a person agrees with Denny's past policies or involvements, I have found him to be a person of integrity with a sincere concern for grassroots dairy farm families, and his work for DPAC has given the coalition valuable opportunities to make their points heard. His concluding statement in his comments on the "market transparency" panel Friday appear below. Unfortunately, this final panel was cut short to allow a second full hour of open-microphone. He read a statement about HR 4173 (on the financial markets) that just came out of conference committee and will be voted on by congress soon and he said the statement is a fitting description for reform of CME-driven milk pricing:

    “This reform brings 100 percent transparency to the market with real time reporting. They will no longer be able to make excessive profits by operating in the dark. Exposing these markets to the light of day will put money where it belongs.”


    Sherry A. Bunting