To the Editor:

Last fall we predicted that milk prices paid to dairy farmers would decline in December 2012 and January and February 2013. These predictions were made despite the wild claims by many members of Congress that milk prices paid by consumers across the United States might escalate up to $8 per gallon; however, as we stated earlier, the threats of exorbitant prices paid by consumers was a scare tactic used by some members of Congress to encourage a new Farm Bill before Jan. 1.

Pro-Ag and many other organizations urged Congress not to pass a new Farm Bill unless the Farm Bill contained a new pricing formula for dairy farmers. So Congress did not pass a new Farm Bill; they extended the 2008 Farm Bill for nine months.

Does this mean that dairy farmers have nine months to correct the pricing inequities that most dairy farmers are facing? Positively not! The large organizations and dairy cooperatives are trying to counsel Congress regarding the margin insurance program they feel should be passed.

So, dairy farmers, you have one more chance to illustrate to Congress that you want a new pricing formula that will allow dairy farmers to cover their cost PLUS.

By the way, did anyone else tell dairy farmers that under a new Farm Bill, the price they would receive for their milk would be determined the same way under the margin insurance scheme as it is today? In other words, if the Farm Bill had been passed, your pay prices would still have dropped in January and February 2013, etc.

Dairy farmers, you can no longer ask for a new pricing formula. You must demand a formula that is fair to dairy farmers, consumers and milk processors. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to milk processors to know in advance what they are going to pay for milk?

It sure would be beneficial for our dairy farmers to know what their pay price would be in advance.

Some consumers in Northeastern Pennsylvania were happy in early January to learn that the minimum price on a gallon of milk had dropped by approximately 24 cents per gallon; however, they couldn’t believe that the dairy farmers took the complete hit.

Yes, and it will drop more in February. As I said earlier, the new proposed Farm Bill (if it had been passed) would not have prevented the decline; however, if you really want to confuse consumers, visit a store in Norwich, as I did recently. A gallon of whole milk (actually the so-called whole milk is 3.25 percent butter fat) was selling for $3.23 per gallon (store brand), while Byrne’s milk was selling for $3.90 per gallon and Crowley’s was selling for $4.42 per gallon.

Is it any wonder that consumers become confused regarding milk prices?

The best way to corral all of this confusion is to include the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act in the new 2013 Farm Bill.

Arden Tewksbury, Manager, Progressive Agriculture Organization, Mes\hoppen, Pa.

By martha

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