On Sept. 9, the Southeast Dairy Coalition was formed to be a steering committee on regional Milk; Maury Cox, executive director of the Kentucky Dairy Development Council; Kenneth Hall,
issues and to form an alliance with DPAC on national policy. producer from Clinton, Ark.; Jack Fritz of Fritzglen Farm, Springﬁeld, Tenn.; Mike Fisher, dairy
Participants were, from left: Julie Walker, of Agri-Voice Enterprises based in Tennessee; “Son- producer from Beebe, Ark.; and Robert Klingenfus of Klingenfus Dairy Farm, Crestwood, Ky.
ny” Boyd, of B&B Farms, Jayess, Miss.; Rob Barley of Star Rock Farms Dairy, Conestoga, Pa., and vice-president of the Kentucky Dairy Development Council.
and vice-chair of DPAC; Everett Williams of Williams Dairy Farm, Newborn, Ga. and president Not pictured is Ronnie Patton, a producer from London, Ky. who attended the Sept. meeting.
of Georgia Milk Producers; Steve Harrison of Harrison Dairy, Loudon, Tenn. and member of the Also not pictured are the following producers who attended the August meeting and were un-
Tennessee Dairy Producers Association board; Tanya (Boyd) Rushing of B&B Farms, Jayess, able to attend the September meeting: Laird Cole a dairy producer from Hale, Ala. and chairman
Miss. and recent testiﬁer at the June 25 USDA / DOJ hearing in Madison Wisc.; Cliff Hawbaker of the Alabama Farmers Federation State Dairy Committee; Ron St. John, a managing partner
of Hamilton Heights Dairy, Chambersburg, Pa. and chairman of DPAC; Pete Wright of Wright of ﬁve dairies in Florida and Georgia and a Southeast Milk, Inc. director; Ed Henderson of
Family Dairy, Baxley, Ga.; Dr. Ben Shelton of Rocky Creek Dairy, Olin, N.C. and president of Shenandoah Dairy, Live Oak, Fla.; Dale Eades of Cindale Farms, Marianna, Fla. and vice-presi-
Upper South Milk Producers Association as well as chairman of the new Southeast Dairy Coali- dent of Southeast Milk; as well as Norman Jordan, a producer from Siler City, N.C and Bradley
tion; Roger Jefferson of Mountain View Farm, Chatham, Va. and vice president of Upper South Johnston of North Carolina. Photo by Sherry Bunting
Producers meet in Atlanta, form Southeast Dairy Coalition
SDC to serve as a regional steering committee and be af�liated with DPAC on national dairy policy
By SHERRY BUNTING Dairy Coalition will have the opportunity to channels. Now that the class is certiﬁed, an es- exceptions can be given in the Dairy Produc-
Special for Farmshine move from an ad hoc position to become a timated 4500 dairy producers in the Southeast tion Stabilization Plan (Costa/Sanders bill)
voting member of DPAC’s board at the na- could participate. because that would “cause the plan to collapse
ATLANTA, Ga.—As a follow up to the tional level. DPAC also expects to have rep- The Southeast dairy producers said they ex- on itself.”
August 5 multi-state meeting in Athens, resentation from the Midwest on the 2010-11 pect the trial to move forward in 2011. They also said their plan is being analyzed
Tennessee, dairy producers from Virginia, board. During the afternoon, the group discussed by dairy economists, along with NMPF’s
North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennes- “This is not an event. It is a process,” said DPAC’s recently formed milk marketing Foundation for the Future and Agrimark’s
see, Mississippi and Arkansas returned to the Hawbaker. “DPAC’s purpose is to take the models subcommittee and challenged each Marginal Milk Plan. Their study will soon be
table on Sept. 9—this time in Atlanta, Geor- ideas of dairy farmers and focus on those other to think “outside the box” about classi- completed, with a ﬁnal report expected early
gia—where they voted to form the Southeast things we agree on around the U.S. Truth and ﬁed milk pricing, competitive pay pricing, and next week.
Dairy Coalition. transparency is a core issue at the national lev- producing for a market. “At that point, the information will go na-
Three producers from Florida, and one from el, and we are looking to the Southeast Dairy Hawbaker noted that rules beget rules, and tional and be available to everyone,” said St.
Alabama, who had attended the August meet- Coalition to surface the issues that concern therefore, the cycle of rulemaking is never sat- Pierre, adding that the Costa/Sanders bill will
ing in Tennessee, were unable to make the your region.” isﬁed and is one of the problems that has led most likely go to the 2011 Congress for mark
September meeting in Georgia; however, they DPAC has spent a lot of time working on to the current system becoming too complex up after the November elections.
each indicated their keen interest to participate daily electronic reporting—something that and broken. A report of the economists’ ﬁndings will
as the coalition moves forward. The group is was authorized in the last Farm Bill but never For example, if the southeastern producers also be presented to Ag Secretary Tom Vil-
also reaching out to South Carolina and Loui- implemented. Meanwhile, the action groups can produce milk at a price that is competi- sack’s Dairy Industry Advisory Committee
siana to bring the number of states to 11. are ﬂeshing out the details of the policy frame- tive with what it would truly cost to make it at their September 23-24 meeting in Wash-
On regional issues, the Southeast Dairy work the board outlined after its milk-pricing and truck it from somewhere else without a ington, D.C., and there are plans to share the
Coalition (SDC) will serve as a steering com- workshop in March. These points include transportation subsidy, they should be able to information at World Dairy Expo in Madison,
mittee bringing together multiple Southeast elimination of government price support pur- compete for their market and grow their in- Wisconsin at the end of the month.
organizations. On national issues, SDC will chases, and moving away from the current dustry, particularly since the Southeast market A hallmark of the Costa/Sanders bill, said
provide a communications link and be afﬁli- four-class system that uses end product pricing is actually a growth market in terms of ﬂuid Maddox, is it stays engaged all the time instead
ated with the Dairy Policy Action Coalition formulas and guaranteed make allowances to milk demand. While Class I usage increases, of just coming in hard—like a hammer—and
(DPAC), whom they thanked for inspiring price milk. DPAC favors simplifying the num- Class I utilization has declined due to the way then leaving, like NMPF’s plan does.
them to come together as a regional assembly ber of milk classes and eliminating arbitrary supplemental milk is pooled on the southern “As the environment changes, we change
of dairy producers. “make allowances” by going to a competitive Orders and then diverted. with it,” said Maddox. “It also uses a margin
Dr. Ben Shelton, a North Carolina dairy pay price system. “This is about taking a clean piece of paper trigger. Back in July of 2008, if this program
producer and veterinarian, was elected to Alan Kozak, who milks 400 Jerseys in Ohio, and to start dreaming,” said Hawbaker. “Our had been in place, we would have seen it move
chair the SDC. They also agreed on one pro- talked about the action group he chairs on goal with this subcommittee is to come up into action by that Fall.”
ducer from each state to form the core work- standards and regulations. He said the FAPRI with some different models that could work in Maddox also noted that California balances
ing group. study on raising the minimum standards for different areas. Right now the U.S. dairy in- the U.S. supply and the world supply, by mak-
Three DPAC board members—Cliff Haw- packaged ﬂuid milk should soon be released. dustry is operating off a model that puts all of ing Class IV products. “We want to keep our
baker and Rob Barley, both of Pennsylvania, “We know milk tastes better at these higher the market risk on the dairy farmer.” Class IV,” he said. “We don’t want NMPF’s
and Alan Kozak of Ohio—traveled to Atlanta standards, and this represents a market use for The bottom line is to bring competition and IDFA’s plan of two milk classes.”
for the meeting, which focused on establish- milk solids, which can run hand-in-hand with back into a controlled market to get back to a “The banks will want this,” said Mad-
ing a vehicle for the region’s producers to get the idea of ending government purchasing and local thriving industry. Nowhere is this more dox and St. Pierre, “because they will have a
organized and represent themselves in the pol- stockpiling of powder,” Kozak reported. self evident than in the Southeast. known and bankable cost (market access fee)
icy decisions that will affect their combined “Daily reporting is really a building block,” There was consensus among the group to for growth, and can ﬁnance you on it.”
futures. Hawbaker emphasized. “We know it is not take a “full circle” approach and look at the The SDC expressed real concerns about
By the end of the daylong meeting, several the total answer. It is really a beginning. Right whole system, not be limited to just one part or NMPF’s plan, and some thoughts were voiced
Southeast producers were also appointed to now, we farmers carry all the price risk in the one regulation. As Harrison put it: “Our whole toward the Costa/Sanders bill being “not per-
DPAC action groups: Steve Harrison of Loud- current system. This has got to change, and it industry around us is dying. But when we’ve fect” but “better than the alternative.” Still,
on, Tenn. will serve on the supply management starts with a focus on market transparency and tried a few things in the past, and it doesn’t pay at the end of the day, the group realized they
action group and Roger Jefferson of Chatham, getting better price discovery for our products. off, we just go back to breeding and milking need to identify those policy points producers
Va., on the milk marketing models subcom- The CME is not a true market.” our cows. If we’re working with other regions, will agree on, while continuing to participate
mittee. Jack Fritz, Springﬁeld, Tenn., already “Daily reporting would give validity to the maybe this time we can be successful.” in the industry-wide discussion. They appoint-
serves on the milk pricing action group. Class III milk futures,” said Mike Fisher of In addition to solidifying its relationship ed Maury Cox, executive director of the Ken-
The morning session began with a report Arkansas. “That would give us the ability to with DPAC, the SDC also heard from Amanda tucky Dairy Development Council and either
on the six action items identiﬁed at the Au- hedge our milk if we know every day what is St. Pierre, a Vermont dairy producer and co- Ben Shelton or Steve Harrison to stay in touch
gust meeting. The main point was the impor- happening in the real market.” founder of Dairy Farmers Working Together with DFWT as the national discussion on sup-
tance of building a record on their three top “My feed bill is current, milk should be (DFWT) and Steve Maddox, a California ply management continues.
concerns: 1) Change the procedure for how also,” added Kenneth Hall from Arkansas. dairy producer, who briefed the group on the “One thing is for sure,” said Jefferson:
producers vote on Federal Order administra- “We need to support DPAC on the national Costa/Sanders bill (Dairy Production Stabili- “Southeast dairy producers are going to have
tive rule changes, including a closer look at issues that affect all of us, even if we haven’t zation Act of 2010). a hard time agreeing to supply management
eliminating ‘bloc voting’; 2) address the issues ﬁgured out exactly what to do on our regional DPAC facilitated this by providing the tele- without some sort of exemption for us here in
surrounding transportation credits in Orders issues,” Shelton said. “We see these issues conferencing capabilities to bring DFWT to this deﬁcit Class I market.”
5 and 7; and 3) increase the differentials for like training as a diver in the Olympics: A lot the table for a discussion of supply manage- Northeast producers can also relate to
Class I milk. of work and preparation for a three-second ment. this concern as Pennsylvania and New York
Hawbaker, Barley and Kozak spent part of dive.” Maddox and St. Pierre asked the Southeast have lost market share and, like the south, are
the morning session explaining how the DPAC “What’s right is right and what’s fair is dairy producers what they are looking for in situated close to growing population centers.
board and its action groups function and the fair,” said Barley as the discussion turned to this supply management bill. They further discussed milk movement and
importance of having a regional assembly— Southeast regional issues involving transpor- In a word: An exception. ﬂuid market deﬁcits and the fact that differ-
like the Southeast Dairy Coalition—to pro- tation credits, pooling and diversions. “We’re While some of the producers said they fa- ent Orders balance their needs on different
vide a ﬂow of communications. looking at the need for a fair system and for vored supply management as a concept, they philosophies.
“We originally organized DPAC with the honesty in the system.” also noted that, “Overproduction is not the Plans are underway to have an October
idea of keeping the structure as simple as pos- Market transparency was identiﬁed as a problem we are facing here in the Southeast. Southeast Dairy Coalition meeting after
sible in order to focus all of our efforts on ac- key point running through all of these facets Our problem is production loss.” DPAC’s next board meeting on September
tion, and to develop the grassroots voice in a of milk pricing and dairy policy. “We support “We’re in a growth market (as far as ﬂuid 30.
way that keeps farmers from burning out in you on the daily reporting as the ﬁrst thing you milk consumption), but our industry here is
the process,” said Hawbaker. “By organizing are bringing forward,” said Shelton. dying,” said Jefferson. “We need to be able to
under a simple structure, we were able to hit Several producers also highlighted last grow.”
the ground running: Find areas of consensus, week’s decision by a Tennessee judge, which The group articulated their concern that
set goals and move forward, while our action certiﬁes the class-action status of the South- with the current price, the Southeast continues
groups keep surfacing issues, ﬁnding consen- east lawsuit ﬁled against DFA, Dean Foods, to lose production. But, at the same time, the
sus, and following through with action.” Southern Marketing Agency (SMA), Dairy price appears to be sufﬁcient at the national
The DPAC board reorganizes yearly, and Marketing Services (DMS) and others. This, level because national production has grown
the ﬁrst anniversary will be in November of they said, also sets the stage for more scrutiny by 3%.
2010. At that time, the chair of the Southeast of milk pricing and activity within marketing St. Pierre and Maddox said no regional