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Letter to the Editor: The most important decision our industry has had to make in 50 years

Published on 16 September 2010

Dear Editor & Fellow Dairymen,
We will soon be facing the most important decision our industry has had to make in the last 50 years. I ask that you give the following thoughts some very careful consideration.

All over our country our dairy leaders are suggesting milk quotas and coming up with complicated plans to cut back our production so as to improve milk prices. They are promoting their plans as a quest for price stability (a worthy goal), but price enhancement is really their main goal, just as it was in their CWT effort.

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My concern is that we will be stagnating our industry, just when worldwide export opportunities seem to be opening up for us. Somehow our industry must figure out how to serve our world market customers when the price is quite low so we will have them as customers when prices are high. We must become known as a dependable supplier of dairy products and build relationships, like New Zealand has. Not being able to sell to the government will encourage moving our industry in this direction.

I believe we must speak out, be firm and perfectly clear that, no matter what you may call them, any new program based on the history of a farm’s production, is one we should never adopt for our industry.

Quotas are the only other way to restrict supply, and thus maintain high prices, but they will stagnate our industry just when the world is willing to pay for an increasing amount of dairy products. Quotas have stagnated both Canada’s and Europe’s dairy industry. Our dairy industry is still flexible and progressive. Somehow we must keep quotas out and keep our industry flexible, creative and expanding. A “Foundation for the Future” should not be built on shutting down supply.

Long story, short: Eliminate the support price? – Yes. Replace the support price with margin insurance? – Maybe. Adopt milk quotas? – Never!

George B. Mueller
Willow Bend Farm
Clifton Springs, New York

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