Farmers of a feather herd together.
And that’s just what happened when a motley crew of various organizations gathered together in Washington, D.C to promote a common interest—The Dairy Revitalization Plan.
Farmers and dairy groups linked arms in late July to advocate for dairy policy and discuss their plan with lawmakers who are in the process of drafting a new Farm Bill.
The goal of the plan? Stabilize and improve dairy prices through coordinated milk production growth among all dairy farmers.
In the plan, quota (which many dairy farmers view as being rather restrictive) would be replaced with a growth management model that offers incentives for aligning milk production growth with demand.
Teamwork makes the dream work: It’s this complex and entirely novel system that makes the “Dairy Together” coalition so important. Groups including the Farmers Union, National Dairy Producers, and several others sent representatives to the gathering.
The pitfalls of food supply consolidation, unstable and extreme price fluctuations, and the fact that 17K dairies have closed over the past decade all helped these groups put aside any differences and rally around a common cause.
Soundbite: “Everybody else is asking for a minimum living wage. It’s time farmers ask for one.” —Tina Hinchley, dairy farmer from Wisconsin.
Mooore to come: The Farm Bill has a long way to go, and dairy advocates are just getting started.
In October, the American Farm Bureau Federation will host a Federal Milk Marketing Order Forum that will focus on getting dairy pricing perspectives from anyone in the industry.