Moratorium on Farm Foreclosures, National Milk Marketing Order Needed
As dairy farmers are pounded by rock-bottom pay prices because of COVID-19, National Farmers is calling for a moratorium on farm foreclosures. And one federal milk marketing order to help assist with extreme farmer financial distress.
“We must have a national moratorium on farm foreclosures,” said National Farmers President Paul Olson. “We cannot let market disruptions resulting from legitimate efforts to control COVID-19, take such a toll on farm survival.”
To help dairymen deal with the impossible conditions they face now, the organization recommends altering the current marketing rules that govern the dairy production system.
“The Federal Milk Marketing Order system was established to assure orderly milk marketing,” said Olson. If ever we needed orderly marketing, that time is now.
National Farmers leaders are grateful for the efforts other organizations are making to get much-needed supply management in place. “Any time you can’t sell milk at any price, and therefore have to dump it, demands such change,” Olson said.
The Taylor, Wis. native said the proposals put forward so far are somewhat different in approach, but the goal they share is beyond question.
National Farmers’ dairy leaders assert that past experience has shown well-intentioned programs don’t always accomplish supply management goals. For example, payments based solely on production volume favor the largest dairy farms.
History indicates supply management programs can buy out smaller, higher-cost producers, while their much larger counterparts take up the slack.
“At a minimum, programs must recognize the cost of production differences among dairies of different sizes,” Olson said. Programs must also have provisions that discourage expansion of new and existing very large farms.
The pandemic is showing all too clearly that having too many cows, and too many of the workers who care for those cows, on single, large sites is risky. National Farmers position is it’s better that America’s cows and farmers are spread out over the countryside on smaller sites.
“Our Dairy Farm Structure Management Plan uses the combination of a national milk marketing order and new pricing premiums to add value to the first million pounds per month produced by all farms,” Olson emphasized. In so doing, it helps preserve an industry structure that provides more food security than if offers now.