Working Together On Order Issue

By Brad Rach
The past year has brought enormous challenges for our organization and for each of our farmer members. I’ve recently had a wonderful reminder that we are not alone in facing those challenges. That’s some good news for Dairy Month!

I have written before about how we must get rid of bloc voting if we want to have any chance for meaningful reform in our Federal Milk Marketing Orders. No one cooperative should be able to cast hundreds, even thousands, of votes in an Order referendum.

Even without bloc voting, however, other obstacles stand in the way of effective Order reform. One of the biggest is a USDA policy that counts a no vote on a referendum as a vote to get rid of the Order altogether. How can anyone feel good about suggesting a change in an Order when the future of the whole Order hangs in the balance?

National Farmers Union and American Farm Bureau Federation agree completely with us on this issue. In fact, one of the best explanations of why we need to change this policy can be found on Farm Bureau’s web site.

We are working to move our general agreement on the issue into joint action to get it changed. The presidents of all three organizations have sent a letter together to USDA explaining our objections and saying what policy we would rather have. The nation’s three largest farmer organizations are on the same page, working together to make life better for all of our member farmers. How’s that for good news?

I hope you are as happy as I am to see things moving in this direction. Even more, I hope we are all looking for ways to build new partnerships that strengthen us for times ahead.


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