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 Farmers Need to Take Charge


           On Monday, October 6, Alltech, a world supplier of products which enhance animal nutrition and health, hosted The Global 500 Dairy Expo. The event was a gathering of dairy farmers and industry representatives from 30 countries around the world, over 400 people were in attendance.


           Under the premise of uplifting the dairy industry Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltechís president, convened the meeting and charged the industry with the responsibility of being accountable for itself and taking command of its destiny.


          A variety of very well selected panelists looked at the dynamics of dairy farming around the world, another panel addressed the marketing of dairy products and the role played by global markets and so it went from one end of the spectrum to the other, a thorough vetting of the industry by experts from the world community.


         Admittedly, there is a surplus of milk on the world market and while everyone would prefer to produce for an open market we recognize that most countries use export markets to achieve balance at home. There was an expressed intolerance for surplus milk being dumped onto the world market and a sense of tension as everyone recognized the economic interdependence of our global community.

The world is now recognizing a need to balance the supply of milk with demand for product in order to avoid the repetition of crisis after crisis. An indication of support for supply management came through a rather long resounding applause following discussion on the subject. There were a few countries who remained quiet on the issue, most notably New Zealand, which is understandable with their exports totaling 95%.


        The people were delightful, the event was informative and challenging as we came face to face with reality multiple times on a world stage. Many thanks to our friends at Alltech for their substantial effort and considerable expense to stage such an event.

Next, regarding the matter of standing in the shadow of a large inventory of dairy products, many of us were hopeful the inventory could be reduced with the $350 million approved by congress, some were hoping for an increase in the price support. Regardless of how it is achieved it sends a market signal and without a management plan in place we will soon find ourselves revisiting exactly where we are today.


           It has been about 7 weeks since the St. Albans Dairy Co-op announced its board decision to endorse the concept of a supply management program for the United States. Finally after much consideration and through a unanimous vote on Thursday, October 15, Agrimark has also endorsed supply management. I get the sense we are headed in a positive direction and remain hopeful we can put a national supply management plan in place before the next down turn of 2012.

Our corn harvest is nearly complete here in Franklin co. Vermont and lucky for us itís a good one since there is no money to replace it.


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