A Broken System

June 5, 2011 07:49 PM

Gorrell   Patron, Patrona,Jessie 12 14 10Glenn Gorrell

East Smithfield, Pa.
Gorrell Dairy LLC is home to 670 cows and 610 heifers.



*Extended comments are highlighted in blue.


No matter whom I talk to, everybody has a different opinion about Foundation for the Future. One thing is for sure: The system we have now is definitely broken. The support price of $9.90 has no merit. Why do we make products that do not meet specs for foreign customers? Why do we want to see the huge volatility of the last five or six years continue?

In my article in March, I stated that we need to support one program. Every plan has flaws, but which one can get the biggest consensus and help guide dairying forward? I do think that FFTF will get us there. Everyone should remember that if we as dairy producers can’t come to a consensus, what will be the alternative? Will it be more of the same, which is really bad, or will it be something proposed by staffers of our congressmen and senators?

The margin protection is a worthy try, similar to LGM insurance. The basic coverage is like catastrophic insurance that is available for row crops. It will not lead anyone to prosperity and would have paid out for only a few months of 2009. The supplemental coverage is what I would consider replacing the MILC payment, which is still not the only tool that we have available to protect our income.

The base portion of the program probably gets the most heated discussions. We have a world out there that is growing and hungry. It is a shame that production is slowed by both the prohibition of technology and a base that will ultimately cause a higher cost of production. That being said, I am also one of many who lost hard-earned equity. So, which one do I want: feed the world or have a more stable income? I would like both, and I think both are possible with FFTF.

Elimination of the current price support system is long overdue. It is hard to believe that in the 21st century, the greatest nation in the world makes products that the international community does not want to buy. It is also amazing to me that we are not the country of choice. How can we not be the best provider of dairy products worldwide? Is one of the answers that our current system is geared to putting the excess into government storage instead of finding a true market overseas?

FFTF should be a major overhaul to an antiquated program that has run its course. Let’s hope the 55,000 independent business owners can agree to this change for the better.

Gorrell's April Prices

Milk (3.2% bf, 3.17% prt) $20.41/cwt.
Cull cows $1.36/lb. to
$1.47/lb. (hanging)
Springing heifers $1,200/head to
Alfalfa hay (milk cow) $220/ton
Cottonseed $310/ton
Cornmeal $285/ton
Canola $305/ton


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