I, like most of us in the dairy industry, have been following the Foundation for the Future and other proposals dairy groups have developed to provide a better future for our industry.
As I consider these proposals, however, I can’t help but wonder if Washington will pass any of them, at least not in a form that will genuinely help family dairy farmers.
Gridlock, the influence of big money lobbyists, scandals, and budget cuts are enough to discourage most anyone these days. This is not to say that we should give up on Washington. Instead, we should have a back-up plan that gives us the prosperity we deserve even if Washington fails us again.
We, at National Farmers, have long held that the way to dairy farm prosperity is collective bargaining in the marketplace, not over-reliance on help from Washington. NFO’s principal policy initiative is our Cooperative Marketing Initiative proposal (you can read it at www.nfo.org).
Our Cooperative Marketing Initiative calls for a farmer-led and voluntary two-tier supply management program. It is one way farmers can build essential market power so they can expect fair treatment when they sell milk.
Farmers must never lose sight of the real power farmers have and that should be used in the marketplace. Market power, not government power, will bring lasting prosperity to America’s dairy farmers.
(Schmiesing is the Great Lakes Gulf Regional Director for the National Farmers Organization.)