Friday, July 9, 2010
(click on image to enlarge)
There's an old expression about "diggin up bones." But, there is also the long understood truth about those who will not learn from history. So, let's look back at the very heated debate about the Northeast Dairy Compact. The Compact ran from 1998 to September of 2001.
The Compact's basic idea was to take some power from the big guys and put more money in the pockets of Northeast dairy farmers.
There are so many bills and issues in Washington, DC that no politician can grasp the details of every issue. Rather than wasting time trying to figure everything out, politicians will look to politicians who have a leadership position on certain issues. Most politicians assume the politicians in the upper Midwest will look out for dairy and understand the issues.
If you are a lobbyist, you can use this simple fact to your advantage.
IDFA hired M&R Strategic Services to defeat the Northeast Dairy Compact. M&R utilized focus groups to find "push button" issues. The two they came up with was "milk tax on the poor" and "unfair to upper Midwest dairy farmers."
Then IDFA paid for a bogus "study" by Ken Bailey which could "prove" the Compact would harm the upper Midwest. NE dairy farmers were going to overproduce and drive milk prices down for the upper Midwest. The upper Midwest fell for it.
Now, lets look back. Was there any basis for the claim the upper Midwest would suffer? As can be seen in the above graph, the "model" used to defeat the Compact was a lie.
There is a very important lesson to be learned about how DC works on dairy issues from the Compact.