Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's the End of "Dairy" As We Know It?

On the days leading up to Christmas the story of potentially rising milk prices seemed to be the story de jour. I began hearing about it last week and a little searching found this article from the New York Times on December 20th. Then this report from Fox News on December 21st. Just one day latter, on December 22nd, "The New American" shared this opinion piece. And, not to be outdone (although a little late to the game) the local news station in my area posted this article on December 25th. I'm sure you've heard plenty about this as well.

Of course this "possible" rise in prices are completely related to the Farm Bill ... or more specifically the lack of a Farm Bill and the fact that if no new bill is passed our current farm law will revert to the 1949 laws. I don't really feel like discussing the nitty gritty of the fact that even though lawmakers know that things are expiring they really don't make any progress. I don't really feel like mentioning that when I went to Washington D.C. two summers ago it was to talk about the Farm Bill ... the one that still is not in existence. Nope, I don't want to talk about any of that!

What I do want to do though is ask a question. Specifically I want to ask why milk prices will double (that is what they are suggesting) just because there is no Farm Bill? I mean ... aren't we paying the price of what milk is worth right now? Aren't we paying for the real cost of our milk at the stores? Isn't the market (supply/demand) determining the price? Like I said ... just a question.

In completely related news we are beginning to research and prepare to milk our own cows. This isn't something we are doing because of fear. It is something we are doing because we have tri-purpose cows. It was a small part of the reason we chose the Dexters in the first place, and now that the farm is sort of coming together and the fact that we have just had three heifer calves in a row we finally feel ready to take on this challenge. Of course it will be a while as we tame down cows and really focus on our new heifers.

For now though we have a halter on the calves and are working on making them our friends and we will be reading The Family Cow by Dirk Van Loon (it seemed to have good reviews). I'd love to hear any thoughts or encouragements when it comes to milking on a small scale ... or about the coming "moopocalypse".


buddeshepherd said...

The dairy industry is the perfect example of confusing price supports and government meddling. My local dairyman tried to explain it to me but I got really confused and resorted to the smile and nod.
Our local dairy has a ratio of cows to land that allows him to pasture his herd and for us to chop his grass for silage which lasts him most the year.
Price supports seem to have led to huge herds and huge production where a .05 cent change can mean a huge profit or a huge loss.
I don't understand all this stuff and that is one of the reasons I am not a successful farmer.

Walter Jeffries said...

I would like to see all the subsidies and price fixing eliminated. Milk, crop, farm, petroleum, wind, solar, mortgage (the deduction is a subsidy), etc. These all warp the market place making the real cost of goods higher than they should be. The result is I am taxed to subsidize my competitors so that they can have lower prices at the checkout counter and compete with me. That's not good. Subsidies have produced consolidation and mega farming that we really don't need. Time to eliminate all subsidies.

Peter Iang said...

even more!!!
The AWEA is calling for a phase out of the PTC over the next six year; suggesting they believe prices will continue to decline and will be competitive at that time. The oil/ gas industry still receives subsidies, so I don’t understand why the wind industry is singled out.

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