Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

1209 PD: Now we’re talking

Published on 05 August 2009

Thanks again to those of you who have called in and added your comments and questions to consider as we seek out solutions for our industry crisis.

Please keep them coming. At the end of July, members of Congress revived the Dairy Caucus.



Here were a few of their comments during a press conference to announce the re-formed Washington support group more than 50 Congressional members strong:

“In the short-term whatever the Secretary of Ag can do, he needs to do.”
—Devin Nunes (R-CA)

“Dairy farmers are not looking for a long-term hand-out.”
—Tom Perriello (D-VA)

“We are at a crisis point.”
—Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA)

“This is a crisis that is impacting people’s lives. Farmers need a life preserver.”
—Glenn Thompson, (R-PA)


“We must re-evaluate the current dairy support system and examine the changes that must be advocated at the federal level.”
—Joe Courtney (D-CT)

“Congress bailed out the Wall Street banks because they were ‘too big to fail.’ If we don’t act now to support our dairy farmers, aren’t we saying they are ‘too small to matter’?”
—Peter Welch (D-VT)

Lawmakers have formed a bipartisan caucus to help the struggling dairy industry. But they are waiting to take a cue from producers. They readily acknowledged the challenges they face in educating other members of Congress about the severity of the situation. They also said that long-term help for the industry must overcome previous regional disagreements.

“Only by working together across regional lines and party lines will we be able to help dairy farmers survive in the short-term and help the dairy industry thrive in the long-term,” Welch said.

Throughout July, others representing co-ops and producer organizations were on Capitol Hill testifying of the challenges facing the dairy industry. They even gave lawmakers some proposed suggested fixes to consider. If you have an opinion about the long-term fixes and short-term patches the dairy industry needs, there is no better time to voice them. Washington is listening.

What will they hear from producers? Will it be one message or many? Regardless of whether there’s consensus or not, lots of comments and suggestions would be better than silence.


Walt Cooley