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Let524E

Dear fellow dairymen and women:

Have you been enjoying these last couple of milk checks? I know we sure have, and if it does last for 18 months, maybe we can get back to paying bill on time and without late penalties. Also, a silage box and a new roof on our leaking barn would be nice.

Don’t get lost in this euphoria of high milk prices, they will come down again. The reason I am writing to you now is that I feel that now is the time to act on supply management of some sort. For of number of reasons:

1. We need this price to pay for higher electricity, fuel, fertilizer, and repair bills. W deserve it just as much as they need $20 per hour labor pay and $60 per hour shop time. Businesses don’t hope for this price, they demand it.

2. The public is going to get used to paying more for milk and cheese. Just like we got used to $3 gas and diesel. Let’s get a $15-16 minimum price established so we will never see $11 milk again.

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3. We have to get some sort of supply management in place now before dairymen and women from the East to the West Coast begin to add cows by the hundreds and thousands, and saturate the U.S. market place again. You can bet they will because need and greed go hand in hand in this country.

4. Do you hear or read about Rep. Collin Peterson (the only one who didn’t respond to my letters) being concerned about dairy prices? All he talks about is ethanol. I believe in getting rid of dependence on foreign oil, but I need and deserve a higher price for my milk prices and high fuel prices.

5. I believe that now is the time to act, while $11 milk is still fresh in the minds of the California dairy producers.

They said in national magazines that two more years of this and they would be out of business. Right now they would have a better spirit of cooperation than in previous attempts because they were hit equally as hard with the low milk prices and high fuel prices.

6. It is a proven fact that we cannot count on the government to do this for us. We need a stronger push by the government to keep foreign product out.

Yes, we recently joined NFO, but I am not saying everyone has to. You can put large amounts of pressure on your co-op to get together with the other producers to set the price of milk like the organic farmers are already doing. We don’t need to invent the wheel, they are already doing this and it is working.

7. Now is the time to contact your local delegates, cooperative board members, and CEO’s of First District, Land O’Lakes, Bongards,’ DFA, AMPI, or any place else you have tried selling milk to and start chewing their ear, or rear, whichever you prefer.

All that any of those that we have sold milk to talk about is the price for the next six months or 12 months. That is fine if you only plan to sell milk for the next six or 12 months. What about those of us who would like to continue dairying for the next 20 years? Co-ops (we own them right?) control 85 percent of all milk. Why do we just accept what the market place gives us? Instead let’s tell them the price we need to provide a decent living for ourselves.

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This is what every other business does. I’m going to enjoy $18 milk, but it won’t last — $12 milk will be back sooner then we would like. If the CEO’s of our co-ops say they can’t get this done, let’s tie their salaries to the price of milk we receive and I bet the next time we see $12 milk it won’t take them two months to reach an agreement. Also, we would receive a cost of living increase every year because they would expect one themselves.

I have heard that the U.S. consumes 96 percent of all the milk produced here. Let’s say we negotiated a price of $16 this year for 96 percent, and gave the rest away to starving people. Next year we would receive $16.32 with only a 2 percent cost of living increase. If our co-ops did better because of $17-18 milk, we would then receive a nice dividend check from them as a bonus.

I’m also tired of reading about dairymen coming from Canada and other foreign countries to this land of opportunity.

They come with piles of money from a supply management country and after we go out of business, we reap the benefits of this country putting a supply management policy in place, by doubling or tripling their herds to meet the U.S. demand.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a quota to sell to them?

— David Akerman, Sauk Rapids, MN

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