Dear Scott and the AgDay Team,
On AgDay I have been following the problems facing dairy producers with much interest. The situation is totally unjust for both producers and retail consumers, at least in this part of the West. While prices paid to producers have declined markedly, the costs for dairy products paid by retail consumers either have remained relatively steady or have even increased. One example is dried milk - about eighteen months ago the retail price for a four pound box was $7.99 in one local store, and now it is $13.99, having just increased from $12.99. Costco charges about $0.50 per pound less. The original excuse for the price rise was the increase in fuel prices last year, but with their decline to low levels now there has been no subsequent relief in retail prices. The same situation applies to fluid milk products and to items such as ice cream, and to almost everything which originates from agricultural enterprises, including meat. There has been no general decline in meat prices for the past year and a half, for another example.
Companies apart from producers and consumers must be making astronomical profits. I hope that AgDay will pressure state legislatures and Congress to investigate this situation and to pass remedial legislation. The "free market" concept clearly is not working here. One possible solution might be the establishment of a producers-retailers cooperative, or something similar.