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                                                                 June 25,2012



 Farm Bill Response

   Dear Representative,



   I will begin by offering my thanks to the many of you who have put great effort into improving national policy for the dairy farmer, since there is little time for you to hear from everyone I will be brief. I notice that progress on dairy at times seems to stall, and that lobbyists are quick to address your concerns.

   Producing milk to meet market demand under current policy repeatedly demonstrates the need for a more disciplined approach, it should be recognized the normal function of a market is to either expand, or contract, regardless of commodity. Current policy encourages a boom or bust cycle, it offers the farmer little or nothing for management tools, and there is no methodology or incentive to achieve a supply / demand balance. In fact, a receding market requires the farmer to increase production in order to maintain cash flow, and hopefully survive the downturn.

   A response such as this is inappropriate and serves to further compound the oversupply problem, while it temporarily reduces the expense of inputs to the processor, resulting economics force the continued decline of dairy farms. I have attached a brief document which finds International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) touting that consumers, and or taxpayers, would be disadvantaged under policy as proposed by the Dairy Security Act, their position is reminiscent of a fox guarding the hen house; it should be noted the farmer receives less than 23 cents of todays retail dairy dollar, while the lion's share goes to processors, and retailers.

   Today's consumer expects an availability of food products which are both accountable, and traceable, and we are now coming to recognize their strong support for local producers. The continued insistence of moving forward under current policy is giving rise to milk being produced in relatively few pockets of this country, today 50.3% of the milk is produced by 2.9% of our farms; and then of course we have imports, given a chance, they flood in from everywhere with wide fluctuations in price, quality, and availability. Today, U.S. Dairy farms number 52,146, it is hard to imagine there were 648,000 as recent as 1970.

   National dairy policy should account for the fact that markets function by expanding and contracting, it should come to focus on food production in each region of this country, of maintaining a vibrant rural economy across America, and it should work to prevent the further decline of dairy farms. Export markets represent the prospect for opportunity, and profit encourages eager participation; profitable is defined by farmers as something which does not rely on milk being produced below its cost of production.

   The Dairy Security Act appears to provide the tools and policy needed to correct course, status quo is not an option for America's farm families, and our obligation to everyone extends well beyond the needs of today.




My respect to each of you,


Bill Rowell

Dairy Farmer, Vt.




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CONTACT :  billrowell@billrowell.org