Dairy Discussion Featured in Bloomington
By Brad Rach
This year’s Dairy Division presentation at national convention in February will be especially important.
Many of our members have their financial backs to the wall. Milk markets have been awful. Government support has been so bad that National Farmers President Paul Olson called for action in an editorial that was printed in several agricultural newspapers. It got a lot of attention.
We have to do something and do it soon. What path will we take? That’s what I want to talk with you about during this year’s convention presentation.
To set the stage, I have asked Dr. Richard Levins to give us an overview of where the current path we are on will lead us. Very large, investor-owned dairies mean less support for rural economies. Sooner or later, we will not only lose most of our family dairies, we will lose most of our dairy cooperatives as well.
I have also asked National Farmers Milk Sales Director Dick Bylsma to get you up to speed about our Dairy Farm Structure Management Plan. Dick has had some productive meetings in Washington about Federal Milk Market Reform. He, like many other members of our other staff, have presented the program in various forums around the country. Increasingly, people like what they hear from us.
The most important part of our presentation will come next—a discussion of what else you think we should be doing to get us back on the right track. Is it more policy work, more market work, or both? How can our wonderful members get even more involved in what must be done?
Please come prepared to participate in our discussion of future directions. For those of you who won’t be able to join us in person, I ask that you send me your comments and suggestions before our convention presentation. I will do what I can to make sure they are part of our discussion, too.
As always, I am proud to be working with you and look forward to building a better future for all of America’s dairy farmers.