Pool raiders want it stopped at home

In the March 22 “Farm and Dairy,” we printed a column by Ohio State milk pricing expert Cam Thraen on “outsiders” raiding the F.O. 33 milk pool. The system is drawing millions of dollars from the pockets of milk producers in Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

In an ironic twist, milk producers in the Upper Midwest federal order (where some of our raiders are located) are crying foul to their market administrator because California producers’ milk is being pooled on the Upper Midwest order.

In another bit of irony, the Upper Midwest fought for more liberal pooling provisions during federal order reform. Well, they got ‘em.

Four Upper Midwest co-ops – the First District Association, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Associated Milk Producers Inc. and Foremost Farms USA Cooperative – have requested an emergency hearing to consider ways to amend the order’s pooling provisions.

As Thraen mentioned previously, to pool in F.O. 33, and likewise in the Upper Midwest’s F.O. 30, only one day’s worth of a producer’s milk actually needs to be delivered to a pool plant for that producer to share in the pool.

Even U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., is in on the action, sending a letter to Richard McKee, USDA’s deputy administrator of dairy programs, demanding an investigation.

The co-op leaders call it “double-dipping” and “we just want it fixed,” Ellsworth CEO Ken McMahon told Cheese Market News.

Well, so do we. Who will step forward to ask our market administrator to hold a similar hearing?

Speak up.

Livestock farmers have another opportunity to participate in a process that has a far-reaching impact on their operation: the EPA’s proposed NPDES regulations and effluent guidelines affecting CAFOs.

As we mention in our Page 1 story, a handful of Tuscarawas County milk producers aren’t sitting back and waiting for the new regs to be handed down from on high. They’re taking the time out of their busy spring schedules to send in individual comments about the proposed rules.

Consider this quote from a recent issue of Hoard’s Dairyman: “There is little doubt that environmental regulations will do more to change this [dairy] industry than any other force in the foreseeable future. Whether the pressure falling on the dairy industry is commensurate with its contribution to water pollution problems is highly debatable.” – Rob Davis, DVM, Wayland, Mich.

Strong words. Is anyone listening?

Too optimistic.

And some readers found my comments last week that the USDA would be able to contain any potential spread of the devastating foot-and-mouth and mad cow diseases too optimistic.

After hearing at least one lax airport experience, perhaps they’re right.

Mahoning County’s Duane Moff, who works for COBA/Select Sires, was returning to the United States after visiting farms in Mexico. On the U.S. customs forms, he made sure to indicate he had been on farms and fully expected to be slightly detained or have to walk through a boot spray. Something that would indicate a ready stage of alert at the Texas airport.

Nada. He was simply waved through.

I’m sure columnist Alan Guebert will have some firsthand experiences to share in coming weeks. He’s currently visiting a son in Ireland. And we know he won’t pull any punches. Stay tuned.

About the Author

Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell has been with the paper since 1985, serving as its editor since 1989. Raised on a farm in Holmes County, she is a graduate of Kent State University. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/scrowell and follow Farm and Dairy at http://twitter.com/farmanddairy. You can also find her on Google+ and Facebook. More Stories by Susan Crowell

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