Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Guest Blog

Read about different aspects of the industry from a variety of perspectives.


The following are responses by producers and industry experts who participated as panelists or provided testimony at the Department of Justice/USDA antitrust hearing in Madison, Wisconsin, June 25.

What good may come from the USDA/DOJ workshop?


I believe that it was very significant to the future of our dairy industry that Secretary Vilsack and Attorney General Holder recognized the importance of conducting workshops, such as the one held in Madison, Wisconsin. This event provided representatives of our industry an opportunity to focus the attention of our public officials, in addition to everyone in our industry, on their views about the critical issues we need to solve in order to restore economic stability to our industry.

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A few years ago country music duo Brooks & Dunn released a song called Only in America. The premise is that only in America can a regular kid grow up to be whatever he or she dreams possible. They sing that it’s only here “where we dream as big as we want to, we all get a chance, everybody gets to dance.”

I always love hearing what kids want to be when they grow up. The answers range from pro athlete, U.S. president, fire fighter, doctor, movie star and everything in between. It’s great to see that the notion of “limited potential” has never occurred to them.

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This is my final article from Iraq. My 16-month tour is over. I have traveled about 40 percent of my time here, reaching every province but one. I have worked with nearly two dozen USDA ag advisers in the field and several of them here in Baghdad.

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The following are select comments shared during the open public comment periods at the USDA/U.S. Department of Justice dairy workshop in Madison, Wisconsin, on June 25.

“We’ve always been cooperative members. … It is a relief to hear the change of direction that occurred that the Capper-Volstead Act is not under the gun. My co-op supports our family by finding the best price for our product and a low cost for our inputs. Both those needs are important, as we found out in spades in the last year and a half. As dairy producers we are tremendously good at what we do. We’re not so good at marketing most of the time.

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I am in travel status most of my last few months here in Iraq. As I write, I have just less than a month to finish my 16-month tour. I look forward to turning my PPE, or body armor, in for the last time. That will be done in Kuwait at Ali Al Salem Air Base.

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Throughout high school and college it seemed like everyone I knew had a seasonal or part-time job working at a restaurant. I remember one really fun summer as a cook at my uncle’s restaurant. His managers typically only hired cute girls to work the “front of the house,” so I never made my way up near the customers.

However, I learned a lot of interesting things working in the bar and restaurant industry that summer. In fact, one of the lessons I learned was that it’s not politically correct to call waiters and waitresses by those titles. For those of you who haven’t already heard, the proper term these days is server.

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