Canada’s dairy farmers consider consolidating programs

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And so dairy farmers continue to re-upholser the deck chairs on the supply management "Titanic", completely oblivious to the fact that forcing Canadian consumers of dairy products to pay almost 38% more for milk than US consumers, is, almost literally, enticing even more "icebergs" their way. While the dairy industry falls all over itself to focus on food safety, they studiously ignore food affordability, and the obvious question arising from it all - "What's the point of having even safer food if people ever-more increasingly can't afford it?". Furthermore, while they boast about addressing the "societal demands on dairy farming", they studiously ignore the "demands" made on dairy farming by two sectors - consumers who are being screwed on price and who, therefore, continually consume less, and fellow farmers who are being screwed by the absolute advantage dairy farmers have over them when it comes to income and purchasing power, and who, ever-increasingly, are growing to despise dairy farmers, and all that they represent. Someday, hopefully soon, dairy farmers are going to find themselves on the receiving end of the societal demands placed on them by consumers and their fellow farmers, and when this happens, few tears will be shed, except possibly tears of joy.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

When trade deals are signed and tariffs are lower there will be tears joy ,can not wait for that day ! right on Stephen.

It is always easy to look at the price of milk between the two countries, see that we are paying more, and then be disgruntled about it, without thinking more about the situation.
First off, genereally speaking groceries in the US tend to cost over 20% less in the US, simply due to the cost of living. This would be why when you go to a bookstore and see one price for US customers and one price for Canadian customers, or if you've ever noticed that vehicles cost less in the US than in Canada. Rest assured though, your salary is probably higher than it would be in the US.
Secondly, I would like to point out to you that American milk prices are cheaper, because US Dairy Producers are subsidized by the government; these subsidy dollars come from somewhere, and that would be from the taxpayers pockets. Why are they subsidized you ask? Because the price that milk is being sold for doesn't cover the cost of production. In Canada, the dairy industry is self-sustainable, and producers are paid for their product at a level where they can be profitable without relying on government subsidies.
To me, this system makes alot more sense, as the "users" of the milk products, are the one paying for it, and not all taxpayers.
You mention, that dairy farmers are "screwing" their fellow farmers, but yet I do not see many people who are rushing to become dairy farmers. The cost is enormous, and the work is constant. In fact, out in Alberta, where I am, many dairy farmers are selling their quota, so that they can reinvest the money into land, since cash-crops are more profitable (right now), and there is much less work involved.
If you delve, further into this dilemma, you will see that many american economists, expect that the price of milk in the US could double this year (this may now be averted, with the continuation of the 2008 Farm Bill, but they still expect large increases in the consumer price), this volatility in price, is not good for the whole supply chain.
It is very easy to just see that their is a price difference of fluid milk in the grocery store, but when you do your research and look into it a little more, you will see that it is two different scenarios. What will be very interesting to see, is if the US Dairy Producers get their wish in the new US Farm Bill, and they get a supply controlled system.

Steve, Central Alberta

PS. please dont go after book publishers now, because the american price is lower.

Your comments are complete nonsense, what with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) admitting, in late 2010, after having boasted for almost 40 years about cross-border retail price equivalency for milk and dairy products, that Ontario consumers were paying almost 38% more for milk than US consumers. If "everything" costs more in Canada, why did DFO spend 40 years claiming milk and dairy products didn't? If "everything" costs more in Canada, why, up until recently, did US seniors come to Canada by the busload to get their prescriptions filled? In addition, if you'd ever studied economics, you'd know that, by defintion, tariff-based systems, such as those underpinning supply management, are always net-negative for jobs, net-negative for consumers, and net-negative for the economy. You'd also know that, by the first principles of economics, you are dead-outright wrong to suggest that a "user-pay" system for commodity products makes any economic sense at all, because it disproportionately penalizes the poorest group of consumers, those who are the most likely to stop consuming dairy products entirely which, thanks to the price-gouging effect of supply management, is exactly what is happening in Canada. In economics, it makes sense, if anything is to be subsidized, to have it funded proportionately by taxpayers, not consumers, where the rich pay in proportion to their incomes, and corporations who, by definition, aren't consumers, also pay their share. Finally, while I have no doubt you are sincere in your beliefs, you know nothing about either basic economic principles, or the realities of farming in Southern Ontario.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Even though milk costs almost 38% more in Canada than in the US, beef, pork, or even potatoes, don't. If they did, Canadian consumers would be buying these things when they go to the US to buy their milk, but they don't. When Canadian consumers start going to the US to buy beef, pork, and potatoes, as well as their milk, our economics-challenged friend from Central Alberta may have a point, but until then, he, and every other supply management supporter, is/are simply grasping at straws hoping one of them will save him/them - none will.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

In a recent news release Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture mentioned a few key areas they are focusing on in the farm bill. Two of them are continued safety nets and to push for expansion in trade. There was no mention of a supply managed system, and for good reason. A supply managed system does not work without tarriffs. You cannot push for trade expansion and at the same time bring in any sort of protectionest system which is detrimental to trade. It is my understanding that the Obama government has more of a socialist agenda, and with supply managed systems only increasing the gap between the rich and the poor, I can't see support coming from there. Also, let's not forget that taxpayer's are not off the hook here either, sm requires much more government staff than that of a free market, such as support personnel at the federal and provincial levels, and also policy analysts, lawyers, inspectors and managers because of its complex regulatory system. The CDC promises producers a fair return, but does not promise consumers a fair price. Raube Beuerman, Dublin, ON

I read an article in a farm publication, not long ago, which noted that a major organization representing US dairy farmers had turned supply management down flat, precisely because supply management without import tariffs simply doesn't work - that's not to say that supply management with import tariffs works either, but it, of the two, is the "least-worst" option. It's always amusing, and frustrating, to see that Canadian dairy farmers never seem to miss articles wherein US dairy farmers propose supply management, but they never seem to see those articles in which US dairy farmers, for all the right reasons, promptly turn it down flat.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The few U.S farmers who think sm would be a good thing for them, have not yet realized (or ignore) they would need import tariffs put in place sooner than later in order for it to 'work'. This is the same mentality of Smoot-Hawley, who soon found themselves responsible for retaliatory tariffs placed on the U.S by other countries. Raube Beuerman, Dublin, ON

Why does the milk need to be branded "100% canadian milk" when there is virtually no choice? All along the dairy industry has used sm as the foundation for providing their long touted slogan of "safe and affordable", but here we have them contemplating accessing funding through the growing forward 2 program for food safety????? Raube Beuerman, Dublin, ON

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