Politics In Our Pocketbook

March 3, 2011 04:05 AM

DonaldVanHofwegenDonald Van Hofwegen 

Stanfield, Ariz.

Donald and Ingrid Van Hofwegen milk 2,700 Holsteins in Stanfield, Ariz.



There is plenty going on in the area of dairy policy and politics. The National Milk Producers Federation is introducing different production management programs for the farm bill. The idea of a production management program is not something that I am in favor of.

I don’t believe the government is capable of regulation in our industry. It needs to be up to us as good businessmen to continue to look for better and more efficient ways to be successful.

The latest regulation we are facing is the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure rule. Any fuel or oil tanks larger than 500 gal. must be located in a containment area. This has just been included in dairy and agriculture. It is going to create some added expense because we are going to have to relocate all of our fuel tanks and build a proper containment system.

Another regulation we are being affected by is dust control. Dust monitors are being set up around our area, and fines are being issued. This means we will have to do more road maintenance, which includes using more fuel and more labor, not to mention the amount of water that is being consumed to keep the dust down. I agree with keeping air pollution down, but the costs keep going up, limiting us in the areas we can cut in our budget.

In January, we were notified that the Food and Drug Administration will be implementing a new, rigorous milk testing program sometime in the future. This program is supposed to test for more antibiotics and residue in milk. I do agree 100% with maintaining a quality product off of our dairy. I just hope this is done in a manner that doesn’t create a panic for the consumer. We have to make sure it is done in a way that will not allow for huge recalls in the milk and cheese supply.
Immigration will always be something that I will be watching. It is up to me to make sure our dairy maintains integrity in our hiring practices and continues to be sensitive to the needs of the employee.

Another area that is affecting our pocketbook this year is the corn price. The government’s assistance for ethanol has continued to drive up corn. I just pray the milk price will continue to do what it is doing and our pocketbook will wind up healthy at the end of the year. 

Van Hofwegen's January Prices  
Milk (3.5% bf, 3.27% prt): $16.73/cwt. quota
$15.10 over quota
Cull cows: $64/cwt.
Springing heifers: $1,425/head
Alfalfa hay (milk cow): $200/ton
Flaked Corn: $304/ton
Cottonseed:   $275/ton
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