Dairy cuts

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Oct 20, 2008
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Our state government (ME) has proposed cutting 4.8 million dollars from dairy subsidies for at least the next two years and probably more. I know many dairy farmers and plan to be one, but I don't feel concerned about this. Should I? The big farms are the only ones who will suffer as a result of the cuts, and I think they are part of the reason why milk prices are low anyways. Nevertheless, our Farm Bureau committee just sent out an email asking all of us to be there for the hearing last week, saying that we need to show our "solidarity". I don't think that is small dairies were having problems, the large operations would be rushing to our aid. Am I wrong to feel slightly bitter/angry about this? It is just really discouraging because I really want to get into this business after I finish school and everything is looking south for the industry. :frowns:
Personally I'm against any kind of government subsidies. All they do is encourage people to farm that wouldn't otherswise. The market becomes flooded with product, and the only way to make money then is if the government guarantees a certain payment level. if it was dropped, eventually the market would balance itself out, and the remaining farmers would be getting as high or higher profits than they could otherwise from the government subsidies.

I do however feel for the dairy farmers that have to struggle through the times the government does cut out their payments, because the government is the one that set up the system where you can't profit without their help.
Brandon, I must say I totally agree with you on the subsidies. Its making people focus only on the money and only on crops that will make them money like corn, not a wide variety of healthy foods. People are also taking land out of conservation easement because they will make more money farming it then the conservation rent payments.
Diry farmers aren;t in the same category as crop or beef farmers. The product has to be marketed quickly, dumping it or holding it for a better price isn;t feasible. Currently cost of production is not being kept up with in what they are getting paid. I believe it is something like the price for class I is the same as it was in 2003. I'm not a big fan of subsidies or government support for producers, but with a time sensitive product and one that is pretty much considered a necessity by the consumer, something has to be done to allow the dairyman to stay in business. Personally I'm against the multi-thousand head dairys, but it's a reality and will remain so. Most of the dairys in this area milk less then a 100 head. A couple of the really bg ones milk 300 head or so. The small producer has just as much right to be in the business as the larger produer. These are mostly family farms that have been milking for many years, not the megadairys that have popped up in the past 10 or 15 years or so.
I'll just slip my soap box back in the corner now
Mr. dun I couldn't agree with you more. The day of the mom and pop small dairy is pretty much a thing of the past in our state although a few hang on with no debt and probably do it just out of love. Most are steadily eating away at their life savings in the process while the mega-dairies file for and qualify for every special program available and pockets many thousands for doing nothing other than "be big".
It worries me, because I want to have a small dairy (by small I mean 50-60) and I know I am going to have to diversify to other things (beef, etc.) in order to survive in the current situation. I just figure that no matter what, I can keep a few animals and sustain myself and my family. Its not a good industry to be going into, but it has always been my dream and I can't let big business stop me. its very frustrating.