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Tim the Dairy Farmer: Supply management

Tim Moffett for Progressive Dairy Published on 19 October 2021

“I’m actually smarter than you think I look.” That’s what all politicians would have you believe about themselves. Then they speak, and all hope of intelligence is lost.

I don’t claim to be the brightest bulb in the trailer park on a strand of Christmas lights in July, but I’m not trying to portray anything different. My dad was from Iowa. My mom was from Indiana. And I’m what happens when you’re raised in Florida. That being said, I was emailed a question to answer by a friend of the family in Iowa.

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The reader asks, “Can you address the merits of supply management as it pertains to the survival of the family farm?”

Now, if I was a politician, I would answer you by saying, “C’mon man!” and start nervously laughing just to avoid the issue. After I run your question by my lawyers and multi-national corporations and lobbyists that contributed to my political campaign, my staff will tell me how to answer your question.

If you asked me this question while we were leaning on your truck that had a cooler in the bed, my answer would be something like this.

Supply management, which says in short, “Don’t grow more than you can consume,” was the agriculture norm in the U.S. until the 1970s. With a few changes to the Farm Bill over the years, agriculture has turned into more of a free market situation. By free market, I mean expenses have gone up while farm profits have not.

More specifically, in the dairy industry, people always mention the “quota system” in Canada. Which confuses me because Canadians talk about milk production in kilos! I learned about kilos from watching Miami Vice back in the 1980s. Maybe the CA-nooks are selling white powdered milk and limit the supply so that Tubbs and Crockett don’t arrest them.

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Dairy farmers used to be paid for milk, just milk. Whey was a byproduct. Cream was the money maker. Then somebody took the byproduct and figured out a way to make the whey into a white-powdered milk byproduct. Thus, the people in charge started basing the entire milk pricing system off the trash product and kindly kicked us a few cents for the cream to help keep the lights on. So do I think supply management itself will save the family farm? Not as long as there are boats floating.

I started down a rabbit hole. Please know that this is only entertainment and my own biased-bitter opinion, not that of the publication carrying this column. I don’t need any of ya’ll to cancel your subscription because you can’t see the satire to laugh! So reader who asked, I’d really like to answer your question, but I need to run my answer by my attorneys and some of the corporations that hire me for comedy shows. Dairy farming doesn’t pay that well, so I’m thinking of running for political office. Thanks for thinking I was smart enough to answer your question!  end mark

A special thanks to all of you who have emailed me some great topic ideas and stories. If you have a topic or a real-life “it’s funny now” story you’d like me to write about, please visit Tim the Dairy Farmer or email Tim Moffett

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