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Mr. Chairman, Dairy Price Forum

Published on 21 September 2010

The following are comments from the Dairy Price Forum that took place Aug. 18 in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. The event, sponsored by Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW), focused on addressing price volatility in a global dairy market, preparing for the 2012 Farm Bill and looking at the Foundation for the Future plan.

Miranda Leis
Dairy producer
Monroe County, Wisconsin

“The other option of a quota program is really a non-option for our farm and so too I feel for the future of the American dairy industry. I feel that a quota program would stifle expansion and would severely impede our ability to establish our position as a premier supplier on the world dairy market … When I look into the eyes of my children I am not content to let this current system, which does not serve farmers, continue to exist unchanged. If we do not at least attempt to enact change I can’t say with any certainty there will be a place in the market for my children.”

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Mel Pittman
Dairy producer
Pierce County, Wisconsin

“Are we ready for change? I think we need to move forward with some new ideas, new proposals. I’m not sure that this proposal I’ve seen today answered all my questions, but I encourage each and every one of you to do your own homework and make your recommendations to those who have the ability to make change possible … I think we have to reach a point where we’re willing to compromise in order to put a package together. If we’re all going to stand firm, we’re going to stand alone. So if we can get something reasonable on the table I would suggest taking a good hard look at.”

Linda Hodorff
Dairy producer
Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin

“Obviously everyone’s not going to agree on all portions of it as presented at this point. There are some things that I hope will be changed, but I hope that we all would have the fortitude to stick with this discussion. I’m anticipating milk prices will be improving this fall, and I hope that they don’t improve enough that we turn our attention to other things and let this topic drop because I think some of the fundamental things that put us into this situation are digging into the pain-in-the-butt stuff like getting some of the fine-print changed in some of these regulations. That’s going to take a lot of diligence on the part of folks smarter than many of us in the room to get done. But we need to be standing and supporting them and not requiring something happen ‘right now.’”

Mark Schleitwiler
Vice President of Operations
BelGioioso Cheese

“While I feel the program is offering positive solutions, which also address many of the negative issues we face today, I do have a fewconcerns: the cost of this program to the American taxpayers must be justified. In our current economic situation it will be difficult to pass any new legislation that cannot be proven the program will cost no more than the existing support program. To be successful it must find consensus among all dairy producers without exception. It is vital to have a level playing field among all dairy-producing regions in the country."

Mike North
Senior Risk Management Adviser
First Capitol Ag

“I’m glad to see that we are deregulating the industry. I’m glad to see that we are taking a step in that direction anyway – getting rid of MILC, dairy product support pricing, because it really does provide some unfair advantages in our efforts to become a global competitor. If you look at what the dairy product support pricing does, it artificially moves the marketplace at times when it shouldn’t.”

Tom Suber
President
U.S. Dairy Export Council

“The issue is how do we deal with milk and its many forms in a way that’s best suited for the end user. So the lack of incentives and the structural constraints on pricing, which goes to contract and volatility, I think are probably the two most important [bottlenecks to the U.S. capturing global opportunities].” PD

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