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December 18, 2009 - 9:37am

Federal aid checks to be mailed to New York dairy farmers

posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, Dairy Farms.

New York's struggling dairy farmers are going to receive a good chunk of federal aid, the D&C reports this morning.

The USDA announced a nationwide distribution plan that favors smaller dairy farmers for a $290-million aid package. Some $40 million of the funds are slated for New York's farmers.

Checks will be mailed this week and there is no application process.

“Dairy farmers are the backbone of New York’s agricultural economy, and they are in the middle of the worst crisis in recent memory,” Sen. Charles Schumer said. “This congressional aid could not come a moment too soon.”

The average dairy farmer, with 116 cows, according to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's office will receive about $7,400.

Read More.

Tammy Way
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The small farmers should get a whole lot more than that. Just think what the Big farmer that owns most of Oakfield gets. For him and allthat foreign help he likes.
Adam Riexinger
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I think you missed the whole point of the D&C article.... "According to Schumer, the aid will be figured by pounds of milk production, capping the assistance at 6 million pounds annually. The average New York dairy farm produces about 2 million to 3 million pounds of milk annually. Gillibrand’s office said the average dairy farm has 116 cows and a farm of that size would be eligible for about $7,400 from this aid package." The assistance was capped at 6 millions pounds annually. Lambs Inc., the "Big" farmer that owns most of Oakfield you refer to produces 185,000 lbs of milk per day according to their website. That puts them at a production of roughly 67.5 millions pounds per year. So if the average dairy produces 2 million pounds at 116 cows for an assistance check of $7,400, Lambs check of $22,200 seems awfully insignificant in the whole scheme of things. Also, last time I checked foreign help was available to all farmers not just the "Big" ones.
Richard Gahagan
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This is our government at work. The government sets the price of milk. Then send struggling dairy farms checks because the price they set is too low.
DOUGLAS MCCLURG
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WOW-I AGREE WITH RG 4 ONCE-They should set the milk price to give the farmers more pennies per pound to stretch the money out and keep things consistent.how many meetings and time was spent figuring out they had to give a subsidy.
Lorie Longhany
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Richard, milk prices are not set by the government. Prices are market driven. Dean Foods has the majority of the market sewn up with very little competition. This is one contributing factor to the milk losses to the farmer while Dean Foods has seen record profits. http://foodsafety.einnews.com/pr-news/42349-dean-foods-surge-in-profits-... Importation of milk protein concentrates (MPC) also has contributed to the losses. http://future.aae.wisc.edu/publications/staffreport343.pdf This is why the prices that the farmers are getting per hundred weight is below what it costs the farmers to produce. The government has a program called MILC (Milk Income Loss Contract) that subsidizes the dairy farmers losses. From the USDA website -- http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=prsu&topic=mpp-mi "MILC Program supports the dairy industry by providing direct counter-cyclical style payments to milk producers on a monthly basis when the Boston Federal Milk Marketing Order Class I price for fluid milk falls below the benchmark of $16.94 per hundredweight."
Howard B. Owens
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"Dean Foods has the majority of the market sewn up with very little competition." The curse of bigness. That phrase is actually the title of a collection of writing by Louis Brandeis. I've never read it because it's out of print and used copies tend to be very expensive. Brandeis was one of the key architects of anti-trust laws. Anti-trust laws were originally designed to protect small businesses against big businesses. The thinking was that a diversity of choice and opportunity was best in a free market democracy. In the 1970s, the FTC started seeing anti-trust not as a tool to protect small businesses, but to benefit consumers, meaning lower prices became king to competition. Without that change in outlook, Walmart would not be possible. Dean Foods would not be possible. Now, the FTC views low prices as the ultimate goal of regulation, regardless of the damage big companies do to communities, industries, small businesses or the environment. And recent court rulings have fallen in line with that interpretation. The balance of our market economy is completely out of balance now. In the past few days, I've been toying with the idea of no longer calling myself libertarian. I'm really a decentralist. Certainly, there are libertarian streaks to my thinking, but true libertarians would do away with anti-trust regulations complete. Me, I want anti-trust return to being what it was meant to be: to support a decentralized economy.
Lorie Longhany
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Take a look at this collection of links on Dean Foods. http://agriculture.einnews.com/news/dean-foods-co When a corporation becomes this large they also lose they're conscience. The human side disappears. Besides the losses to the dairy farmers, consumers have not seen much of a price reduction at the cash register because Dean Foods is not passing they're record profits on to the shopper. I agree with you on much of your localism, Howard, even before I knew it was an 'ism'. When I go to the grocery store to buy dairy, I look for Upstate, Bison, Kutters, O-at-ka and Yancy's Fancy. I buy Upstate whip cream in the can instead of Reddi-Whip -- the can is bigger and it tastes better. If everyone were conscientious local consumers maybe we would have a bustling local economy. Over the Christmas break Mary Marg and I are going to get together and start a list of local food sources. People need to be made aware, in the form of tangible lists, just what food in the grocery stores are local and what farmers can be contacted to purchase sides of beef, local free range eggs, honey, maple syrup, etc.
Howard B. Owens
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Can't wait to see your list, Lorie.
Dave Olsen
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Howard, don't limit yourself to the confines of a label. I remember watching Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect" in the latter part of the 90's and they always had a caption below the guests. Dennis Miller was on and his caption was " Non-Pigeonholeable". I've stolen that from him. No labels.
Bea McManis
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Posted by Richard Gahagan on December 18, 2009 - 12:53pm This is our government at work. The government sets the price of milk. Then send struggling dairy farms checks because the price they set is too low. Please cite your source for saying the government sets the price of milk.

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