The U.S. dairy industry is at a critical juncture in its history as it struggles to reach consensus on future policy, says John Jeter, president and CEO of Hilmar Cheese Company.
"Our industry is at a tipping point, a critical turning point. Do we go with more government involvement, stay the same or less government,” Jeter told a crowd of more 300 at the 2009 Elite Producer Business Conference (EPBC) here in Las Vegas this week.
"The natural response is that we need more help through this crisis,” he says. But he also points out that when USDA announced the temporary dairy price support increase back on August 1, futures contracts lost more than $1/cwt for the next eight months.
"Any time you have government intervention, you end up with unintended consequences,” Jeter says.
"Dairy plant manager manage for the government program rather than create real value. That's a killer,” he says.
The Elite Producer Business Conference is sponsored by Dairy Today, and concludes today.