The events are being organized by the Ohio Farmers Union, the Wisconsin Farmers Union, the National Farmers Organization and the National Farmers Union. Sherk will cover topics like how new farmers get started in a quota-based system, how processors participate and what impact inventory management has had on Canadian consumer dairy prices.
“Clearly, the dairy pricing structure we have here in the United States is not serving family farmers well,” said OFU President Joe Logan.
“These meetings will offer a chance to hear how the Canadian system helps keep dairy prices paid to farmers stable, as opposed to the wild swings and crushingly low prices that have been putting U.S. dairy farmers out of business,” said Logan.
In a dairy industry producer survey, conducted by the Wisconsin farmers Union in 2016, the majority of respondents were receiving a pay price that was below the cost of production. Many of the farmers who responded were interested in big-picture solutions to improve the economics for their own farm and for future generations. Farmers expressed concern that the continuing push for very large dairy expansion was undermining market and price stability. Many were interested in learning more about how supply management would work, but were skeptical that a government-administered program is the right way to go. There was clear interest in a farmer-controlled mechanism.
“The stress and difficulty of current dairy economics is considerable, and this pressure is growing,” said WFU President Darin Von Ruden. “This will again be a very difficult year for dairy farmers. We’ve lost far too many dairy farms in the past decade. You need look no further than the local newspaper auction ads to see the severity of what is happening across the countryside. We’ve communicated specifically with bankers about the dangers posed by oversupply and encouraged them to be part of the solution rather than encouraging even greater dairy expansion.”