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Farmers should support new dairy bill

The new version of the Specter-Casey Dairy Bill S889 is ready to go. This time, the introduced Bill S889 will be identified as "The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2009." The introduced Bill S889 has been re-written with a few changes, and both Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Senator Robert P. Casey (D-PA) have introduced the new dairy Bill S889.  

The major change is that the total economic costs on the dairy farms will determine the value of manufactured milk. Again, all manufactured milk will be classified as Class II milk. As in the original Bill, S889, the values of Class I milk will be determined by adding the existing Class I differential in each Federal or state market to the Class II price. For instance, in Federal Order No. 1, if the Class II price were $21 per cwt, then adding the Order No. 1 Class I differential of $3.25 per cwt would establish a Class I price of $24.25 per cwt. The price paid to dairy farmers would be slightly over $22 per cwt.

Please remember that the Class II price will be the same in all federal orders, as it presently is. However, the new Specter-Casey Bill S889 calls for all state orders to use the same Class II price as the federal orders use. This definitely includes California.

Since 1981, dairy farmers have been subjected to several unorthodox pricing formulas that created severe roller coaster rides for the dairy farmers' milk prices. These prices force thousands of dairy farmers out of business. Current dairy farmers want a new pricing formula based on the national average cost of production.

The dairy crisis is devastating dairy farmers nationwide with milk prices as low as in the $9 range per hundred weight. This crisis affects not only the agriculture industry, but our nations economy and all consumers as well. The supply and demand excuses used for the U.S. milk price collapses are corporate greed and corrupted myths. True facts reveal the so-called surplus of milk is the unwanted milk supply produced by U.S. dairy farmers as corporate entities seek out cheaper ways and use cheaper dairy substitutes to make their products and profits.

The U.S. dairy farmer's milk is being displaced by massive imports of milk protein concentrates (MPC's) and caseins. MPC's have never been approved by the FDA and do not have Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) status. Our food quality and safety is being threatened. These imports have increased dramatically. Commercial disappearance (consumer consumption) of U.S. dairy products has actually increased by 2.7 percent as of December 2007. The U.S. is a milk deficit nation with a 4.2 billion pounds of milk shortfall at the end of 2008. Demand is there.

Yet, the National Milk Producers Federation and it's corporate affiliates like Dean Foods, Dairy Farmers of America, Fonterra, etc. are slaughtering massive numbers of healthy milking cows and pregnant young heifers to reduce U.S. milk supply. Their next goal is to slaughter over 300,000 cows thru their CWT program. They blame the milk price collapse on too much U.S. milk supply despite the true facts and true numbers that prove their theory is false and their schemes are corruptive. One dairy cow alone can generate around $15,000 in annual economic activity. The NMPF's CWT program is a disgrace and an economic loss that cannibalizes the very industry it claims to represent. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) where dairy prices are set has been proven to have price manipulation abuses. Fines and lawsuits against the DFA, and antitrust abuse investigations all reveal the sepsis of corruption destroying the dairy industry.

The new dairy Bill S889 also has a supply management program that addresses the need for balance in the amount of milk supply between imports and exports of dairy products. Food programs also benefit from the supply management program if necessary to implement.

The responsibility of having the new Dairy Bill S889 passed by Congress now rests in the hands of dairy farmers. All dairy farmers must call their local Congressman as well as their U.S. Senators and urge them to support the new Specter-Casey Dairy Bill S889.

Please understand that this introduced new Dairy Bill S889 will never make it unless dairy farmers across the United States throw their weight behind it. Change is urgent! We need cost of production immediately. Imports and MPC issues need to be addressed now! This new dairy Bill S889 does that and restores fairness and stability to a current failed pricing system and dairy policies. The integrity and future of the U.S. dairy industry needs full support for this new Dairy Bill S889.

For more information PRO AG can be reached at 570-833-5776 or at