Producers meet in Atlanta_ form Southeast Dairy Coalition

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					  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

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