Seasonal factors at play in fluid milk sales decline

© AgMedia Inc.


I guess I was unaware that back to school was one of the four seasons in this country !

The increased Canadian demand for cheese and yogurt is being ever-increasingly met by the rapidly-increasing duty-free imports of milk protein, now close to $1 billion annually.

Let me see if I've got this straight - milk consumption is declining, yet milk is what we produce in Canada, but consumption of cheese and yogurt is increasing, but we are importing continually more the ingredients to meet that increased demand. So when DFC pooh-bah, Wally Smith, boasts about increased consumption of cheese and yougurt, he is being egregiously duplicitious with the truth because it's American dairy farmers, not Canadian dairy farmers, who are supplying that increased demand.

As Ian Cumming is fond of noting, US dairy farmers love Canadian supply management because it gives them $1 billion in annual sales to Canada (and increasing rapidly) they wouldn't get if supply management disappeared.

It is simply amazing that nobody in dairy la-la land has figured out that the Canadian dairy system is in a "ratchet effect" death spiral - lower milk consumption leads to higher fixed costs which leads to a higher cost of production which results in higher farm gate prices which leads to lower consumption - at the same time, continually higher prices for milk thanks to the ratchet effect will lead to continually-more imports of duty-free milk proteins to use in making cheese and yogurt which can then be sold at rip-off Canadian prices, thereby well-deservedly hoisting Canadian dairy farmers on their own petard of greed, stupidity and duplicity.

The Canadian dairy industry doesn't need TPP to topple it - greed, stupidity and a gross mis-understanding of consumer behaviour are doing far-more damage to the credibility of Canadian dairy farmers than every outside influence combined.

Guelph's Sylvain Charlebois was completely correct to trash DFC's $100 million of annual consumer advertising designed to get consumers to forget they are being gouged by dairy farmers, but he didn't go near far enough - Instead of calling it "simply silly", he should have called it "totally stupid".

My views may not be shared by any organization with which I am affiliated - but then again, I don't care.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Don't for get that immigrants from many countries do not drink "dairy milk" as in the form SM controls . Goat milk consumption is huge in the world and since it is likely what many immigrants are used to drinking and using in their cooking and diets , it will see growth and SM milk sales will decline . So now you have effectively 2 times the decline if not more .

If you didn't care if your views are not sared by those who you represent , then why keep keep saying you don't care ? You make your organization look silly and your self well you know !!

Goat milk has been on the fringe of making a breakthrough for many years and will always be a part of the dairy scene. However, the problem with any so-called ethnic market is that it often lasts about half a generation before tastes become "Canadianized". and demand plateaus or even decreases.

The other problem with goats milk is that, thanks to supply management, too many people are going into it because they can't get into traditional dairy farming, thereby raising the substantial risk that the market will be flooded and that only the largest will survive.

However, the biggest contributor to the death spiral of the Canadian dairy industry, other than the belief in protectionism itself, remains the inability, by design, of supply management to use price as part of the marketing mix. Price, to marketing, is what oil is to an engine - you can run an engine without oil, for a while, but eventually the engine seizes up. The same thing happens to supply management because without the "oil" of price, the rest of the marketing mix seizes up and becomes useless. That's why pizza topping mixes once flooded into Canada and that's why duty-free imports of milk protein are flooding (to the extent that $1 billion annually is a flood) into our market now.

It's an unbalanced battle - on one hand we have dairy farmers still welded to simplistic and naive notions from two generations ago about how to increase farm gate prices, and on the other hand we have cutting-edge science inventing things like milk protein concentrates to circumvent the protectionist mentality of the dairy industry.

Farm organizations are largely protectionist and therefore, my views, and/or the views of any economist, may not be shared.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Mr Thompson. The relationship between farm gate price and consumer pricing (that impacts purchasing patterns) likely doesn't obey economic theory very closely as processors/retailers adjust margins and prices for a variety of reasons (there is a reason for milk being 'on-sale' and a reason why the dairy section is furthest from the check-outs). I'd guess Mr Galen Weston alone has far more impact on fluid milk sales than DFO dairy farmers in this case. Teeth are worn on your notional ratchet, perhaps?
One of the things that allows a wrench in the workings of SM is the language-constraints of the tariff policies as written.....loopholes appear when milk-based products with new names appear (and are not specified as duty-eligible). Takes time to negotiate these. Yes, this is a bit like plugging the holes in a dam as creative people find the loopholes; but occasional leaks are hardly a reason to tear down the dam..........

The relationship between farm gate price and consumer price is undeniable and those zealots (everyone who owns quota) who claim there is little, if any, relationship are, in effect, making the same patently-absurd argument that the well-head price of oil has no effect on the price of gasoline.

The continuing absurdity of all postings that try to exonerate supply management is, once again, demonstrated by the figures released by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario in late 2010 which showed that the farm gate price of milk in Ontario was within pennies per liter of the US retail price.


The "ratchet-effect" is a well-known and well-understood economic reality for all "cost-of-production" models. When production goes down, fixed costs have to be allocated over reduced units of production, thereby driving up costs on a per-unit basis which gets reflected in the price which, in turn, reduces consumption and therefore, production.

In a price-sensitive area like dairy products, it often leads, and definitely has in Canada, to a stagnant and/or declining market where producers are willing to pay ever-increasing amounts of money to obtain a bigger share of this declining market.

In addition, the above poster, is dreaming in technicolour, as do all quota owners, when he/she dismissively refers to "occasional leaks", as if 800,000 litres of milk dumped into lagoons was an occasional leak.

Get over it - supply management is rotten to the core and a cancer affecting all of agriculture and the entire country.

My views may not be shared by any organization with which I am affiliated - too bad for them.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Mr Thompson. Consider the picture without SM in Ontario as of today. Assuming milk price in Ontario would then equal that in New York State, and assuming Ontario dairy farmers still have access to processor contracts, i estimate the farm-gate price of milk to be 50 cents per litre (which coincidentally is close to the US cost of production). I hope my calculations are accurate.
This price is somewhat inflated by the current exchange rate; closer to parity of our $ would create a negative margin for most Ontario farms. If Saputo was paying this reduced price, would I now get my 2% milk for less than the $1.00 per litre I currently pay with SM? And, will this benefit be cancelled out by any new tax levied to support the unprofitable dairies?

Nobody cares about anyone's cost of production, nor should they.

For example, Ian Cumming recently reported about an Australian dairy farm where the cost of production was 44 cents per liter and they were making money - if somebody from Australia can do it for 44 cents, nobody feels the least bit of sympathy for some coddled dairy farmer from Canada who claims he/she can't do it for 50.

We've often seen the same thing in industry - for example, in the 1980's, Gainers meat packers in Alberta went on strike because the workers claimed they couldn't live on less than about $13 per hour. The company promptly fired them all and replaced them with workers willing and able to work for about half that.

Exactly the same thing happened at the John Morrell meat packing plant in Sioux Falls, SD when, at about the same time (I toured the plant shortly after) the company went into receivership on a Friday afternoon to void its master labour contract with wages at about $12, offered all of its workers a job on Monday under a new company name at about $6, and everyone (some 3,100 employees) showed up for work.

More recently, when the pampered workers at GM Diesel in London claimed they couldn't afford a pay cut to $16 per hour, the company promptly closed the plant and moved to Indiana where they found oodles of workers who were willing to work for that amount of money.

A more topical example was when the US de-regulated their trucking industry in the early 1980s - most old-line companies went broke because their cost structures were too high and had archaic management styles. However, new companies entered the business and prospered - the same thing happens when any protected industry de-regulates and it will happen in dairy and poultry. Nobody mourned for the old-line trucking companies, nobody missed a delivery because somebody else was able to do it and the same thing will happen in the Canadian dairy and poultry industries.

There is no reason to believe the same rationalization couldn't and/or shouldn't happen in the Canadian dairy and poultry sector - these sectors have built up their expectations and their cost structures to the nose-bleed level and have no idea how to adjust.

Secondly, Cumming has often reported that US banks won't lend more than $3,000 per cow to ANY dairy farm - and, insofar as many Canadian dairy farms owe that much, or more, on just their palatial houses, negative margins in the Canadian dairy business after supply management will be self-imposed and/or self-inflicted insofar as Canadian dairy farms, by driving up the price of land and by building dairy barn palaces and palatial houses, will have done it to themselves. Nobody will pay any attention to lamentations about high production costs coming from within the walls of palatial mansions on dairy farms, nor should they.

Thirdly, one of the most-successful dairy farms I've ever seen in Ontario was owned by my friend (now long-since retired) who ran it like a junk-yard because he had almost NO overhead. He had loose-housing in an open-front pole barn and his hired milkers worked almost around the clock because he refused to expand the size of his milking parlor from what it was in 1957 to meet quadruple the number of cows the farm had in 1957. He had no silo unloaders to break down because he had no tower silos. He had a fleet of older loader tractors, none of them with cabs, to do his feeding, and stored them outside because he had no machine shed - one of the tractors would always start. In short, he was running his Ontario dairy farm in a so-called "California style" because he was milking almost round-the-clock in facilities that cost him almost nothing.

In short, the above posting exemplifies the dismissive attitude one always sees among people who refuse to get the point that they don't get the point - dairy and poultry farmers are acting exactly like the Gainers workers and the GM diesel workers who lost it all because they refused to accept even the possibility that they may have to forgo even part of their pampered lifestyle.

What the above poster doesn't seem to understand is that while he/she believes the Canadian dairy industry will be "unprofitable" when supply management ends, there are, as there always is, people chomping at the bit willing, as was the case in all of the examples I have outlined above, to make it profitable - and it's only the quota-owning dinosaurs who are preventing it from happening.

As always, my opinions may not be shared by any organization with which I am affiliated - but, then again, I suspect I'm the only person in any of these organizations who has toured the John Morrell plant.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Yes, 2% milk would still cost you the same $1.00 per litre.

In the absence of 200% tariff barriers, Canadian dairy processors would simply say to farmers - "Sell milk to us at the price we can buy it from US producers, or we'll buy from the the US the way we are doing now with the $1 billion in annual duty-free imports of milk protein."

Secondly, in the absence of 200% tariff barriers and quota, the "ratchet effect" will start to unwind - lower prices will lead to increased consumption which increases production which lowers the per-unit allocation of fixed costs which lowers the price at which one can make a profit, which again leads to increased sales, consumption, and even exports.

I mean, really, frozen pizza makers already get to buy their milk from Canadian dairy producers at world price - what would be so wrong to allow everybody to get the same deal?

In addition, it is patently absurd for supply management supporters to claim there will be no retail price reduction in the absence of supply management given, for about the thousandth time, DFO's own statistics which revealed, in late 2010, that the farm gate price of milk in Ontario was within pennies per litre of the US retail price.

The "no reduction in retail price" shibboleth is a fallacy right up there with the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny - while all three are fairy tales, only the "no reduction in retail price" is outright fearmongering based on greed, fear and wishful thinking of people who don't want to see the value of their quota plummet, rather than common sense and sound economic/business principles.

Finally, in the absence of supply management, there will be little, if anything, to prevent big retailers like Wal-Mart from telling Canadian suppliers that to supply Wal-mart in places like Windsor or Sarnia, they need to be competitive with US suppliers - it's like this, Wal-Mart outlets in Windsor and Sarnia are going to be most-unhappy to see their Canadian customers go to US Wal-Mart stores to buy milk and dairy products and will do whatever it takes to keep them here.

Sigh, the seemingly never-ending trilogy in Canadian agriculture is death, taxes and clinging to protectionist fantasies, especially by:

(1) people too afraid to identify themselves.
(2) people with no experience, talent or qualifications in any business beyond their farm gate.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Yes, it is so silly that people ignore the experiences of the real world of pricing.

For example - they don't remember how gas prices fell in lock step with oil prices when they dropped from their highs above $100 a barrel down to $40?
Oh wait.......

They don't remember that hamburger was free in grocery stores during the BSE crisis when beef farmers got paid pennies.
Oh wait......

Yes, so silly.

Do you also remember when Bell had a monopoly on your local and long distance service...what happened to the price when it was opened up to competition?
Right, our price has dropped and the service has improved and is continually improving.
Doesn't sound silly to me!

Mr Thompson. In answer to my own question as FYI:

Mark-ups in the food industry are 30-60%. With 75 cent milk and a 10 cent processing cost (an outrageous guess on my part), a 33% mark-up should mean Saputo sells milk to Loblaws for 111 cents and they then retail it at 148 cents. The price of 2% milk at 100 cents must, therefore, be decided solely by the 2 companies (to attract consumers into Loblaw stores). If I were them, and milk prices dropped to 50 cents, I'd be tempted to keep the price for 2% at $1.00 and reap the benefit ($1.00 would still be just less than the 50 cent milk with the 33% mark-ups). If pushed, a price below $1.00 would be an option, I agree.
But this is 2% milk, right. So, if the 1.8% skim is (for example) used to boost milk to 5% for retail as coffee cream, then this skim added to more milk will enrich 1.5 litres. Even on sale, coffee cream is $2.00 per litre. The skimmed cream then clearly makes up a lot for the minimal mark-up on on the 2%, I think. They must love to sell skimmed milk.......

And so, in relation to my question. The farm gate price of milk is only a part of retail milk pricing and to understand the real cost of milk to the consumer one must include the entire range of dairy products and their varied mark-ups (clearly this is very complex).

As to my additional question.
Since consumers are likely to be upset by change, I think Loblaws (my example) would prefer to retain the Neilson brand. However, given that cheap chocolate milk was sourced by the tanker-load from the USA a few years ago, I'd be surprised if Saputo would not contract with US farmers for milk. But, I think the real reason the US is pushing against SM is to open up our market to finished products. So, expect to see gallon jugs of 'product of the USA' 2% milk at discount prices, maybe mores in places like No Frills and corner stores.

Of course, this is all speculation on my part, but I don't think I'm being overly optimistic, nor overly pessimistic either. Nevertheless, the deflationary impact of 50 cent milk on the rural economies of the major dairy counties in SW and E Ontario would be substantial (loss of revenue plus loss of domestic market-share).

No response required.

Do you realize that all those milk shippers to Great Lakes are still out there and would be happy to supply what you don't seem to be able/willing to supply?
You are certainly underestimating the ingenuity and ability of your neighbors and potential processors.

While the above anonymous poster toils in the basement boiler-room of pricing and mark-up minutae, he/she forgets several important points which are common sense, sound economics, and a glimpse of the "big picture"

(1) when DFO published data in late 2010 showing that the farm gate price of milk in Ontario was within pennies per liter of the US retail price, this meant that even if the Canadian processing, distributing and retailing sectors "did their thing" for nothing, there would still be effectively cross-border retail price equivalency, therefore, by clearly identifying supply management as the guilty party, rendering the above poster's pedantic arguments about what is, or is not, an appropriate "mark-up", nonsense and gibberish - and really, what pro-supply management argument isn't just exactly this sort of diversionary gibberish?

(2) the poster's arguments that ending supply management would have a deflationary effect is only partially correct. Ending supply management would have a deflationary effect on land values, but that would be entirely a GOOD thing because supply management largely drove these values into the stratosphere in the first place. In addition, we have 150 years of well-recorded economic history showing that the economy benefits every time protectionist priveleges are taken away from the favoured few or, in other words, the deflationary scenario suggested is nothing more than the usual protectionist fearmongering always offered by people with no understanding of economics and very-little, if any, common sense.

(3) any arguments about price mark-ups ignores the fact that supply management is largely about fundamental freedoms and freedom of choice. Without supply management:

(A) we'd be able to get Chobani yogurt
(B) award-winning cheese maker, Margie Morris, would be able to get all the milk she wanted from her preferred supplier
(C) every pizza maker would be able to get mozzarella cheese supplies at the same price
(D) organic milk farmers would be able to channel their milk through whatever processing facility they desired
(E) everyone could have as many hens as they wish and be able to market the eggs from these hens in any sort of innovative way, and in any place, and at any time they wish.
(F) ditto applies to chicken meat.
(G) we wouldn't have lagoons awash in skim milk

In short, supply management continues to be defended by people who don't understand economics, wallow in minutiae and base every argument on protectionist fear-mongering.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Mr Thompson. My question simply asks that you share part of your vision for our dairy industry without SM. I tend to agree with the person who suggested 2% milk would still be $1.00 per litre with farm gate price @ 50 cents per litre. Would you agree?
In any event, maybe you could also indicate when answering my question if the 2% milk in question is likely to be: Ontario milk processed in Ontario into 3 plastic bags =4L, US milk processed in Ontario into the same packaging or US milk processed in gallon jugs and branded from a US Dairy. Thank you.

If the above poster had the grace, dignity and good manners to identify himself/herself, I might consider a detailed response, but lacking all of the above,(comment modified by editor)

Having said that, the answer to (1) is NO and the answer to (2) is Ontario milk processed in Ontario.

In response to your belief that retail prices wouldn't decline to match US retail prices if supply management (the only thing really different between US and Canadian dairy industries) disapeared, you're ignoring:

(1) common sense
(2) good economics
(3) sound business principles

in order to cling desperately to a belief that has no credibility whatsoever.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

You seem to forget that there is a real difference . That difference can be seen in the price difference of farm equipment and auto parts for 2 quick examples .
The main difference is that there are two different countries . But then you likely believe HST dropped the price of goods to an equal value or made things cheaper . Did your daddy tell you that the tooth fairy paid more here than there ? You likely told your kids that they would get more from the tooth fairy if they were born and raised in the US .

I disagree with many statements made in this article, and won't comment further. However, after 15 years of research on MB, I’m always disappointed to read such a negative response from dairy farmers. Let's hope, one day, Dairy Farmers will appreciate that in order to survive, things need to change. So, in a sense, with my written words and work on boards over the years, I'm actually trying to defend and help the dairy sector, not condemn it. I spent my youth on a dairy farm and have tremendous respect for the work they do, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Rest assured, I will continue to express my thoughts about our dairy industry, regardless of the undesirable emails and posts I receive almost weekly.


Professor Charlebois is dead-on accurate and has no need to "weenie" his criticisms by claiming to have spent his youth on a dairy farm - that was then, this is now.

In addition, undesirable e-mails from supply management supporters are simply the "trash" any supply management critic must take to the electronic "curb" - however, getting that one supporting e-mail (and we all get well-more than just one) from somebody so well-placed that his/her identity could never be revealed, makes it all worthwhile and gives us the resolve to carry on.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

I seem to recall that DFO also blamed "seasonal factors" as one of, if not the most important of, the reasons for dumping 800,000 litres of skim milk into lagoons.

It will be interesting to see if DFO continues to blame seasonal factors like Halloween and the Easter Bunny for logistical nightmares in the dairy industry, instead of recognizing that the entire problem lies, as always, with the fallacies in, and folly of, command-and-control single desk marketing.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

A drop in milk consumption from one year to the next in the same month seems unlikely to be seasonal, unless the calendar is spinning out of control

The only thing spinning out of control is the ability of the dairy industry to look like it knows what it is doing. What with:

(1) putting "one foot on the gas" by spending $100 million a year on the promotion component of the marketing mix but also putting "one foot on the brake" by refusing to acknowlege that the price component even exists.
(2) dumping 800,000 litres of skim milk into lagoons
(3) being able to do nothing about rapidly-increasing duty free imports of milk proteins, now about $1 billion annually
(4) chasing companies like Chobani right out of the country
(5) doing their best to deny award-winning cheese maker, Margie Morris, the milk she needed to get her business off the ground and doing their best to thwart her ability to grow because she can't get (thanks to frozen quota) any more milk from her preferred supplier.
(6) denying the organic dairy farmers who owned Organic Meadows the ability to direct their milk through their own processor, thereby precipitating its collapse.
(7) implementing a totally-nonsensical "three-price" system for the ingredients to make mozzarella cheese, depending entirely who you are - frozen pizza makers get world price, fresh pizzza makers pay something more than that, and people who make their own pizzas pay the rip-off "cost of production" price.

The organizations with which I am associated have to agree with me - I've simply reporrted the facts.

What this thick-skulled anonymous poster does not understand is that in the same way that the only cure for deflation is to allow prices to fall to the point where they meet demand, it is also true that the cure for a decline in milk sales, is to let the price fall to the point where it meets demand.
We are currently witnessing proof of this scenario in the fuel/oil sector.

Raube Beuerman

That has never held true in the US where fluid milk consumption has dropped 78% since the mid 70's.It is also not the case in New Zealand, where consumer milk prices continue to be some of the highest in the world despite the world milk prices dropping 39% since Feb 2014 and being the lowest in 5 years.

The overproduction of milk has lead the Northeast part of the States to dump 31 million lbs of milk in the first 5 months of 2015, of course you will never read about any of that in Ian Cummings columns.

Eventually they have to do what Supply Management and our quota system has been doing for 50 years...cull cows!! or Government support kicks in...or both!

Supply management IS government support.
Who isn't explaining things very well?

Raube Beuerman

(1) Please provide evidence to support the claim that fluid milk consumption has dropped 78% in the US since the mid 70s.

(2) please also provide evidence to support the claim that 31 million pounds of milk has been dumped in the north-eastern part of the US in the first five months of 2015.

I mean, really, I sign my name and I provide evidence, published by DFO, to support:

(A) cross border prices in 2010 ,
(B) the fact that DFO dumped 800,000 litres of skim milk in early 2015

yet supply management supporters refuse to provide any sort of evidence to support their ever-increasingly outrageous claims. I can't understand why supply management supporters believe it is their right to make any sort of claim without offering any evidence or underlying economic principle as support, and then do it anonymously.

Therefore, if the above poster is unwilling and/or unable to provide any proof to support his/her claims, I will request that the above posting be expunged from this site.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

So your using data 5 years old ?Overproduction and bottoming world milk prices are current!

We are lead to believe that Canada is the only Country were milk consumption has dropped but that is false and all one has to do is Goggle US declining milk consumption and the internet is full of it.The fact is Americans drink 37% less milk today than they did in 1970 and for the very same reasons that whole milk sales have declined in this Country.
I have said on here before,the US has the same answer for high or low world milk prices and that is to milk more cows... until someone with sense tells them to stop.The figure amounts being dumped in the NE comes straight from the USDA,its interesting reading but then again if all you read is Mr.Cummings articles then your probably not aware of any of it.

One anonymous poster claims US milk consumption has declined by 78% since the 1970s, a preposterous claim which, in effect, means that four out of every five people have stopped drinking milk entirely - then another anonymous poster, or possibly even the same sophomoric fool who claimed a 78% drop claims - "the fact is Americans drink 37% less milk today than they did in 1970", yet offers no proof of either the 78% or the 37%.

In addition, the above poster demonstrated an appalling lack of any marketing and/or business acumen by claiming that milk consumption in both Canada and the US is declining "for the very same reasons" but completely ignores that, thanks to supply management's price gouging at the farm gate, milk pricing from the farm gate forward is entirely different in Canada than in the US, thereby making the "very same reasons" argument complete nonsense.

Furthermore, the above poster ignored three other critical points in his/her rush to judgment:

(1) he/she offered no comparison of by how much faster milk consumption declined in Canada than in the US - the difference being almost entirely attributable to the price gouging effect of supply management.
(2) he/she ignored the fact that US dairy production can be exported as well as consumed domestically, meaning that a decline in US domestic consumption doesn't have as adverse an effect on the US dairy industry (no ratchet effect) as a decline in domestic consumption has on the Canadian dairy industry which is very-much influenced by the ratchet effect.
(3) he/she ignored any examination of how much more milk would have been dumped in the US if they had supply management and, therefore, could neither export nor lower their prices to clear the surplus.

Once again, as always, anonymous supply management supporters offer one-sided arguments, no proof and no evidence that any thought, other than an overwhelming need to produce a "So there" missive, was put into what they write.

As always, my views may not be supported by any organization with which I am affiliated, but then again, they cannot prove I am factually incorrect in any way.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The mere fact that the USDA reports milk dumping being done in parts of the US and that New Zealand is culling cows and cutting processing jobs shows us that they DO believe in some sort of Supply Management.Even European dairy farmers only one year after deregulating quota's know that now as well.Its either some sort of SM or Government bailouts.
Quite frankly, l don't think we up here should care if the US Northeast dumps a million pounds of milk or 2 or 3,it just shows that their exports and domestic consumption can't keep up to their massive overproduction.I think everyone can fully understand why the US and New Zealand have tried very hard to get Canada to abandon SM in the latest TPP talks.

As you know, there are many types of milk, whole milk consumption has tumbled the worst in the US,if you have an argument with the numbers....and those are in a Country without so-call Supply management and unlimited dollars for advertising.

Supply management has always boasted about being good marketers and able to synchronize production with demand - the "mere fact" that the Dairy Farmers of Ontario dumped 800,000 litres of skim milk into lagoons because:

(1) they're bad marketers
(2) WTO doesn't allow them to export
(3) they refuse to lower the price to encourage domestic consumption even though US farmers are "eating DFO's lunch" by exporting almost $1 billiion in duty-free milk protein imports to us annually.
(4) they know they can "hose" consumers to pay for their bad marketing.

shows supply management to be bunglers of the highest order.

In addition, if the credibility of the above anonymous fool wasn't zero to begin with, his/her claim that the US has unlimited dollars for advertising dairy products (as if supply management hasn't) proves him/her to be not just a fool, but a complete buffoon - for example, when was the last time anyone EVER saw dairy advertising on US TV compared to the plethora of dairy advertising (dutifully and shamelessly added to what consumers have to pay for dairy products in Canada) on Canadian TV?

Why is it so easy to catch supply management supporters, especially the ones who can't seem to ever remember their names, in ludicrous contradictions that show them to be complete dolts?

Instead of US dairy consumption going down by 78% since the 1970s, as one hapless fool recently claimed on this site, and, of course, with no evidence available anywhere to support that claim, far-better evidence (here every day for the reading) can be found on this site to support the proposition that the intelligence of anonymous supply management supporters has declined by 78% since the 1970s, and is dropping daily.

My views may not be shared by any organization with which I am affiliated, but many of their members do.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Maybe you can write a nasty e-mail to the Washington Post since that 78% seems to have hit a nerve or maybe an old fashion distasteful hand written letter to the USDA for having the gall to print that Dairies in the Northeast dumped 31 million pounds of milk in the first five months of 2015.

With the US only allowing 2% dairy imports into their Country and Canada at 6% and the dumping of so much milk, they should be congratulated on being better at Supply Management than we are.You have to wonder why they need such huge subsidies as well.

I believe we all know why no organization would admit to being affiliated with your views.

Anonymous posters never consider that the reason the US imports only 2% of their dairy consumption is because their domestic price is already too low to encourage producers in other countries to sell to them. In Canada, thanks to the price-gouging effect of supply management, and the resulting ratchet-upward effect on cost and price, EVERYBODY wants to sell to us because they'll make bags of money by doing so, which is exactly why US farmers are selling us almost $1 billion annually in duty-free milk proteins and exactly why Ian Cumming claims that producers in his part of the US love supply management, and why wouldn't they? - US dairy farmers are selling more dairy products to Canada now than they ever would if supply management disappeared.

In addition, anonymous supply management supporters never think about:

(A) how much more than 31 million pounds of milk would have been dumped by US producers if they were forced to follow supply management's hide-bound rules against being able to export and not being able to discount prices to encourage domestic consumption.
(B) how much less than 800,000 litres of skim milk would have been dumped in Ontario if marketing wasn't controlled by a definitionally-inept 9 to 5 bureaucracy and if we were allowed to export as well as discount price to encourage domestic consumption.

It's when supply management supporters regurgitate irrelevant, dis-connected and out-of-context snippets of data like 6% and 2% mentioned above, without stopping to consder what any of it means, that everybody who doesn't own quota and/or has an IQ greater than their shoe size gets cranky, and justifiably-so.

In addition, anonymous supply management supporters seem to always feel the need to "kitchen-sink" matters by tossing in the bogey-man of US subsidies, even in spite of the fact that Ian Cumming regularly claims that his US dairy farm gets none.

Finally, the Huron County Federation of Agriculture, like many other agricultural organizations, has adopted a social media protocol and, therefore, every Director is required to issue a disclaimer when expressing views about agriculture which are his/hers alone. This type of disclaimer is often seen at the bottom of opinion articles written by members of other organizations, in the back pages of the Rural Voice. And since every one of our Directors has strong personal opinions about some aspect of agriculture, and since we all have conflicts-of-interest about some matter or another, it makes sense that we try to differentiate these opinions.

The alternative would be that we turn into unthinking regurtitators of the sort of socialist propaganda, such as that offered above, regularly being spewed by anonymous (and not really very-bright) supply management supporters on this site - and that, of course, is my personal opinion.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

I think we all/most of us can agree that the only way US producers can afford to overproduce to such extent is the present low cost of production.Fuel and feed are cheap,cull cows and calves are fetching record prices.There’s more than enough incentive to produce more milk, even if millions of pounds of it are destined for dumping.

Canadian dairy farmers can better afford to, and therefore have more incentive to dump milk than US farmers because Canadian farmers have the legislated ability, even with a high cost of production, to screw consumers when they do. US farmers don't have the legislated ability to screw consumers, they know government subsidies aren't forthcoming, and therefore, they have less reason than Canadian farmers to dump their bad marketing decisions into lagoons.

In addition, any overproduction in the US at the moment is offset by low returns in the marketplace, a concept neither understood nor even known among Canadian dairy farmers who simply don't understand that price is even a component of the marketing mix.

Granted, US producers do have two very-real incentives to overproduce and both are directly related to supply management - one is cross-border shopping by individual Canadian consumers (lessened at the moment by a 75 cent Canadian dollar) and the other is the US processor-to-Canadian processor sales of duty-free milk protein replacement, now approaching $1 billion annually and which has every reason to increase because Canadian processors can buy in the US at world price and sell in Canada at rip-off supply management prices.

Therefore, since Canadian sales of milk and dairy products actually originating in Canada are declining in a way not known in the US, thanks to:

(1) our high basic prices caused by supply' management's legislatively-sanctioned gouging at the farm gate
(2) cross border shopping by Canadian rather than US consumers
(3) $1 billion of duty-free milk protein coming into Canada with effectively nothing going the other direction.

overproduction is a far-more systemic and chronic problem in Canada than in the US where they have market signals (price, for example) to guide their production decisions - in Canada, the only way producers get any signals at all, are from the 9-to-5 politburo "command-and-control" running-dog-lackeys of the socialist mediocrity of single-desk selling who couldn't find their way out of a room full of open doors - unless it was the open trap-door over a lagoon full of skim milk.

As usual, the "politburo" of any organization with which I am affiliated may not agree with my views about open doors over lagoons.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

I think you should rethink your 800,000 litre reference. It's well past that now and they're still dumping, they've just learned to do it away from prying eyes.

While the above poster did note that the consumption of whole milk has declined by some 78% in the US since 1970, he/she conveniently forgot to point out that the consumption of skim milk in the US has increased by about 300% in the same time period, ostensibly because of health-related concerns (as per the chart in the Washington Post article)

While there may be a difference between fluid milk, whole milk and skim milk, for the above poster to concentrate on plummeting sales of whole milk and ignore the soaring increases in the sales of skim milk is, alas, all-too-typical of the sort of slipperiness with the truth supply management supporters seem to favour in their quest to defend the indefensible.

The only real truth proffered by the poster is that the per-capital consumption of all types of dairy milk in the US has declined by some 37% since 1970 from nearly one and one-half cups per day to about 0.8 today. What the above poster neatly ignored was any consideration of by how much more consumption would have declined if the US had adopted the price-gouging system of supply management and, therefore, made milk of all sorts just that much less-affordable for US consumers.

As always, supply management supporters, especially the anonymous ones, simply can't ever tell the whole truth about anything - sigh!

As always, my views may not be shared by any organization with which I am affiliated.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Editor: This anonymous comment must be resubmitted and signed.

If milk sales in the U.S. has declined by 37% then it begs the question, what do they drink? Could it be, they prefer to buy much more expensive bottled water? I expect the sales of bottled water in the same time period have skyrocketed. Bingo.

According to the article - "Americans are still drinking the same amount in beverages as they did back in the 1970s, only they're now spreading that fluid intake across a much larger pool of beverage options" and, yes, although bottled water wasn't mentioned, it is a likely candidate for reasons outlined below.

The article goes on to note - "But the fast-growing market for soy, almond, and other non-dairy milk replacements has done little to mitigate the industry's utter inability to reinvigorate itself"

The article also quotes a CoBank article published in 2014 which noted - "We essentially went from milk, carbonated soft drinks (CSDs), coffee and juice in the 1970s to a myriad of alternatives available today."

The CoBank article went on to note - "Fat content, flavorings, and added sugar have all been viewed with disdain as the country struggles with its child obesity epidemic."

Of note, and dutifully-ignored by the original poster, was the article's analysis of the futility of dairy advertising, of particular significance since we spend about $100 million annually on dairy advertising in Canada, including the recent, and completely self-serving "milkle-down" campaign which serves no purpose except to defend supply management.

"Earlier this year, the US Milk Processor Education Program, a USDA-monitored marketing board of American milk processors, abandoned its beloved 20-year old "Got Milk" ad campaign. The reason? Though Americans might have enjoyed it, the array of white moustaches did nothing to boost milk demand - per capita consumption has fallen or remained level in virtually every year, for both whole and reduced and non fat milk alike, since 1993, the year in which the campaign was introduced. The US government still throws hundreds of millions of dollars into the milk industry's hands every year (probably considered by supply management supporters to be a government subsidy). If the lack of innovation, and inspiration, continues, that's a whole lot of money for a whole lot of disappointment."

Unfortunately, supply management types are doing at least two things completely wrong -

(1) they are spending over $100 million annually on advertising which, according to US data, and even with lower US retail prices without supply management, simply doesn't work. The only difference between Canada and the US is that our dairy advertising is paid by the poorest group of consumers, while in the US it is paid by big corporations and wealthy individuals though their income taxes.
(2) they are doing nothing to reduce the price, something which does work.

Therefore, even though milk consumption has declined in both the US and in Canada, we, in Canada, are doing our utmost to make it decline even further because we use 200% tariff barriers and the ratchet effect to benefit producers at the expense of consumers and we, as well, force poor consumers rather than rich taxpayers and corporations to fork over the money to be squandered in advertising in a futile attempt to persuade consumers to buy our over-priced dairy products in the first place.

And yet, anonymous fools show up every day on this site to perform their "whack-a-mole" exercise to try to defend the supply management monstrosity.


My views and the use of the outburst immediately above may not be shared by any farm organization, even though, according to the private e-mails I receive, are very-much shared by a great-many farmers.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Milk cheaper than water protest in Europe.

USA: 320 million pop, 9,200,000 milk cows. Canada 35 million pop, 960,000 milk cows.
USA runs at 15% dairy export (this leaves 7,820,000 cows to supply pop).

By my arithmetic the cow/person ratios are ~ :USA 1:40 and Canada 1:36. Since yields in the USA are about 10% higher, I believe this means that dairy consumption might be pretty much the same in both countries (despite any price differences).

Yes, but in order to make any sort of valid comparison:

(1) how many of these 9.2 million US dairy cows does it take to produce the milk that comes to Canada every year via cross-border shopping?
(2) how many more of these 9.2 million US dairy cows does it take to produce the almost $1 billion of milk protein concentrate that enters Canada duty-free every year?
(3) what percentage of these 9.2 million US dairy cows did it take to produce the 31 million pounds of milk purportedly dumped into US lagoons in early 2015?
(4) what percentage of the 960,000 Canadian dairy cows did it take to produce the 800,000 litres of skim milk DFO dumped into lagoons in Canada?
(5) what is the cost, per Canadian cow, of the amount of money that will be lost by Canadian hog and cattle farmers (and made by US hog and cattle farmers) if the US signs TPP and Canada chokes in order to defend supply management?
(6) what is the amount of money made by US farmers on a US per-cow basis (and forgone by Canadian farmers on a Canadian per-cow basis) whose milk enters Canada in the cars of Canadian consumers, and how much money, per cow, is made by US farmers (and lost by Canadian farmers) whose milk enters Canada in the form of milk protein concentrates?

In addition, and since we're on numbers, if we assume the Dairy Farmers of Canada spends $100 million per year on advertising, that represents about $2.85 per Canadian, all of which is totally wasted, unless you happen to own an advertising agency. If the US doesn't do any more than spend the purported "hundreds of millions" (and it's probably not more than that given that they have abandoned their 20-year old "Got Milk campaign") coming from their government, that would be, if they spent $456 million, it would be exactly half what Canada spends per person, or about $1.42. If we added the huge amounts of money spent in Canada for no other purpose than to defend supply management (the milkle-down campaign), all of it extracted from the wallets of the poorest group of consumers, Canadian advertising to try to increase sales and money squandered to defend supply management are both huge, by any standard, and just as worthless as supply management itself.

As always, my views may not be shared by any organization with which I am affiliated - but since they can't dispute my numbers, I don't know how they could possibly disagree with my conclusions.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

You mean cherry picked numbers at that . Butts ya still wont admitted that many things ia cheaper in the USA . like equipment , car parts and much more .

I suggest you answer your own questions before declaring a lack of validity. SM does not appear to be having much of an effect on consumption, and your notional ratchet mechanism is unlikely to be come into effect if SM is abandoned(beyond a short term bump, perhaps). SM isn't perfect, but a lot of rural residents will feel the impact if it happens to disappear (the 'milkle-down' effect).
And yes, with a 75 cent dollar, cross-Border shopping is much reduced right now.

Any sort of tariff-based system is net-negative for jobs and economic activity within the jurisdiction enacting the tariffs, yet that basic economic principle seems to be perpetually lost among those engaged in primary agriculture and/or the natural enemies of sound economics, the NDP. If nothing else, the mistakes made by Republican US President, Herbert Hoover, when he enacted the protectionist Smoot-Hawley laws in the early days of the Great Depression, and thereby deepening and lengthening the depression, should be at the front of the mind of every farmer, yet the tragedy of Smoot-Hawley protectionism is unknown to many farmers, especially those who, by supporting supply management and/or the NDP, still believe in the principles of Smoot-Hawley, and that is an even-greater tragedy.

Therefore, the loss of supply management will, by defintion, have a positive impact on jobs and economic activity even in dairy and poultry sectors - except, of course, for those great-many people who, as lobbyists and public relations flacks, serve no other purpose than defending supply management itself and whose salaries are known, quite appropriately, as "drag costs".

Furthermore, one of the most-basic and oft-proven principles of economics is that the economy and society both prosper when protectionist priveleges are taken away from the favoured few - therefore, the belief among supply management supporters that the economy of the rural community will suffer when supply management disappears, is nothing more than fearmongering by economic illiterati.

Anyone who can use a computer well enough to be on this site can, and really should, Google "The Corn Laws" and follow a brief and well-written story about how and, more importantly, why, England prospered after ditching food protectionism in the 1840s.

More importantly, even though the lessons of the Corn Laws have long-since dispelled the fallacy that so-called "food security" has any bearing on a country's prosperity, farmers, especially those without any understanding of basic economics, still keep flogging the "food security" shibboleth.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The advertising is not wasted, its just never enough both in the US and Canada.

A 100 million may seem like a lot but compare that to dairy farm net receipts of over 6 billion and you get something like 0.16 % of revenues spent on advertising in Canada.I believe that percentage might be even smaller in the US but l don't know.
Now compare that to soft drink giant Coca Cola, which spends almost 7% of their revenue, to the tune of almost 3.5 billion worldwide on advertising in 2014 and you can see why l say the dairy industry is not spending enough both north and south of the border.
Coca Cola's strategy requires it to make large spends on multi-channel advertising campaigns. This means that if Coca-Cola does not consistently advertise, it will lose market share to other large competitors.

The beverage industry is very competitive and milk simply has not followed that kind of strategy both in Canada or the US.

Glad you brought up the fuel sector. What we are witnessing there is the open marketer's wet dream. Have you checked the price of a barrel of oil compared to the price at the pump? I thought you might have. Now check that same ratio three decades ago when we had more refineries. Can you spell price gouging! It's essentially an uncontrolled monopoly that, unlike SM for farmers no government can manage. In hindsight it's comical that anyone would hold out fuel/oil prices as an example of something that's a good thing.

When the total in taxes is removed from the price of gasoline, gas a year ago would have been a dollar. Retail price $1.38 subtract the 38 cents which is tax.
Currently, the price of gas is 62 cents, 1 dollar retail subtract 38 cents of tax.
A 38 percent reduction in price. The barrel is down a little over 50%. There a couple other factors that play into pricing, but for the most part the retail price is has followed the barrel rather closely.

$0.62 cents for a liter of gas is quite reasonable in my eyes....cheaper than milk!!
Also, if anyone claims these companies are "gouging" us, you are free to take part in their profits by becoming a shareholder. Their dividends are quite generous. Can anyone buy shares in a dairy farm....hmmm...anyone???
Raube Beuerman

Gas prices across Canada are generally above $1 a litre. US gas price is around $2 per US gallon.

Neat comparison with milk eh.

99 cents for the past 2 weeks in my local town, taxes included.
62 cents without taxes
Cheaper than milk.

Raube Beuerman

Cheaper than bottled water too

What is stopping you or any one else from buying shares in or starting your own dairy farm ?

Wasn't aware of any publicly traded dairy farms.
Do tell......

Raube Beuerman

You never asked for any publicly traded dairy farms . You just asked if any one can buy shares in a dairy farm . There is nothing stopping you or any one else from doing so . Other than the owner that is .


This poster falls into the category of what is described as economic outpatient care, which is also the reason he/she posts without a name, since there is no pride in receiving economic outpatient care.
It's like this- if the next, and current generation of supply managed farmers were not receiving so much financial assistance from their parents(economic outpatient care), quota and/or land would be nowhere near the levels they are at.

Raube Beuerman

That's a pretty lame excuse,your talking like SM parents are the only ones supporting their children.The number of "boomerang" kids are at record numbers,next you will be saying only SM adult children come home to sponge off mom and dad.
Stats now show 32% of working age adults are now living in doubled-up homes of one variety or your math none of those are beef or pork homes.

You asked the question and now you can't take the answer ! You should have asked the proper question then . Not sure who you were directing your reply to but I am not a SM supporter , not an SM farmer , had hogs and beef for half of my farming career and did not grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth . Not sure what your problem is but think you must be suffering from TDS .

If anonymous posters have no reason to be ashamed of how they got to where there are......they would reveal themselves.
It's like this, I identify myself.....I eat my own cooking.
When will anonymous posters eat their own cooking??

Raube Beuerman

Let me see if I can see through the fog of anonymous and poorly-written "logic"

(1) some anonymous fool claims he/she isn't a SM supporter, but in the absence of a name, how do we know?
(2) the same anonymous fool claims he/she isn't a SM farmer, but in the absence of a name, how do we know?
(3) the same anonymous fool infers that he/she was the author of an earlier posting, but in the absence of a name on either posting, how do we know?
(4) the same anonymous fool claims to have not grown up with a silver spoon in his/her mouth, but in the absence of a name, how do we know?

One thing we can reasonably-well establish without a name being provided is that the anonymous poster immediately above is poorly-educated and has self-worth issues because of:

(A) the presence of poor grammar in his/her posting and/or the inability to communicate in complete sentences.
(B) evidence that the poster is afflicted by codophilia which is the compulsive need to bolster one's self-worth by speaking in code, like using TDS (whatever that is) in order to try to impress people.

Hey, people, if you want your opinion to be accorded any respect or dignity, sign your name and don't try to impress people by talking in code.

As always, my opinion may not be shared by any organization with which I am affiliated, but then they always sign their name(s) and don't (at least if they proof-read things before they send them) tend to practice codophilia.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

So what is in a name that has to be signed with a caveat excuse with it ?
Sort of makes a name useless and not worth printing .

Editor: Comment will be published in full if resubmitted and signed.

A couple of spots in Michigan at less than $2 per U.S. gallon or approx. 50% of Ontario price. Same thing goes for auto parts, JD ag parts, electricity prices etc. etc. So now what?

Take the taxes out and the equivalent price is $2.35 american
50%, eh?
Back to school for you!

Raube Beuerman

Michigan gas taxes on $2 pump gas are currently approx. 29 cents and will be increasing in the next few months to about 41 cents. Back to school for you also.

$1.04 retail Canadian equals $0.66 before tax per liter
$0.60 retail American equals $0.52 before tax per liter(using anonymous $0.29tax)

A 27% difference before taxes

Milk price $1.00 per liter Canadian
Milk price $0.66 per liter American

A 66% percent difference

Raube Beuerman

Yes, the Michigan-Ont. gas prices appear to be getting closer for a change. Just not sure about those state and federal taxes. Hard to get that nailed down, as they seem to be quite variable in various U.S. states.

Should be investing in dividend shares of a bottled water company eh! Just shows how gullible consumers can be with words natural, and organic on the label. Anyways, maybe now you could do a U.S.- Ont. comparison for auto and ag parts.


Maybe our on site economist can provide some ideas on how Ontario farmers can compete when U.S. inputs for gasoline, auto parts, JD parts and electricity are all cheaper just a few km from Ontario farmers?

Every time my former MP, Paul Steckle, was asked a similar question, especially when it was part of a plea by farmers for more financial assistance from government, he responded by saying we farmers caused our own problems because the worse things got, the more people were prepared to pay to rent his (Steckle's) farm.

Ontario farmers can compete with anyone when price/earnings multiples for land come back to reality after being in the statosphere thanks in part to ethanol mandates and thanks in larger part to supply management.

Ontario farmers are entirely to blame, as quite-correctly noted by Steckle, for our lack of competitiveness because we've greedily and foolishly bid up the price of land which, at an imputed rent of $200 per acre (based on projected 2016 income levels) and a 15 times P/E multiple, should be selling for somewhere around $3,000 per acre - and forget the nonsense about low interest rates because accurate P/E multiples are calculated before interest, taxes and depreciation allowance.

It's like this, the longer Ontario farmland prices trade at the current P/E multiple of over 50 times future earnings (based on new crop 2016 prices) the longer Ontario agriculture will cannibalize itself and the faster the next generation, especially our best and brightest, will flee to the city.

The sooner we swallow the bitter pill of land price deflation, the sooner we get rid of all those greedy fools who borrowed too much and paid too much for land (and quota) - we owe it to the next generation.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

More so to be truthful about it , was it not hog farmers who he was renting to .
Nice of you to leave that little tidbit out . Now I am not sure if these same hog farmers took the gov buy out or not when that sad sorry excuse of a program came out .

Check it out yourself Stephen, the renters of the MP farm you refer to are in fact rather larger well established vertically integrated expanding Hog and Cattle farmers. So much for your "land inflation couldn't possibly be caused by Hog and Cattle farmers" eh!

Furthermore, #ASit does not explain why ag and auto parts are far cheaper in Michigan where they have no SM than 5km away in Ont. where they do.

Nobody regrets seeing cattle and hog farms prospering because they have to compete with the legislated windfalls of both ethanol and supply management.

In addition, whether it is the Steckle farm or anyone's farm, nobody ever said any prospective renter was being rational - hog farmers can be just as stupid and can lose just as much money by paying too much to rent or buy land as anyone.

Furthermore, when Steckle made his comments, I seem to recall him saying things to the effect that "people line up to offer him more money" - I don't recall him ever saying, or ever leaving the impression that he only ever had one farmer make him an offer and/or that the person he did rent his land to was the person who made the best offer.

Besides all that, since the above poster obviously doesn't know his/her own name, how does he/she know who actually has made offers to rent Steckle's farm and, more importantly, how can he/she prove that Steckle ever did rent to the person making the best offer?

The answer is, as always, that anonymous postings are baseless conjecture coming from fools.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Nonsense -Do the research!

Are you kidding ? That would be like asking the organization he is affiliated with , does not agree with , signs his name with an excuse attached because of , to do any research on the pro's and con's of any thing that will affect their members because they will side with the gov on all issues as not to ruin their chances at getting a political appointment . Research is a dirty word for any one who is supposed to represent agriculture don't you know .

I rest my case.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

You should really use a respectable example of a person when you want to make like you know it all . Your MP did nothing for agriculture . His claim to fame was fighting his own Liberals on gun legislation and then did an about face ,turned his back on those who elected him and agreed with the Liberals . Must have feared getting his pee pee slapped . Guess you never got the Camo Christmas card .

Mr. Steckle and I often disagreed - he, however, always identified himself whenever he contacted me about a concern, unlike every member of the this site's anonymous rabble, none of them, apparently, the owner of a "pee pee" and/or the "cojones" to go with it.

And, I can't help but be amused by the above poster's poor grammar, particularly his/her inability to discern the difference between the words "respected" and "respectable" - I've met a respected person, I understand what a respectable amount of something might be, but I have no idea what a respectable example is. Could it mean that a respectable example is a large example, but who ever heard of a respectable ocean or a respectable drink and how might one show respect to these items? Or, perhaps, is the poster really trying to say "refer to a respected person"? If so, why would the poster reduce his/her credibility to zero by using bad grammar, too many words and an awkward sentence structure?

Either way, Mr. Steckle was deadly-accurate when he blamed farmers for trying to have it both ways by driving up the price of land and then crying to government for aid because they couldn't make enough money.

I respect Steckle for making that comment/observation and if that's an example of "turning his back on those who elected him", we need more like him.

So, OK, he wasn't perfect either - he did support supply management, but most people his age did simply because they didn't know any better.

As always, my views, and my understanding of what constitutes good grammar, may not be shared by any organization with which I am affiliated, and will definitely NOT be shared by grammar-challenged, anonymous posters on this site.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

First you need a buyer for your milk. Higher costs in Ontario also make processing more expensive. Possible, most pessimistic outcome: If Dean, DFA etc really go after our market, they'll first buy out our processors. Then they may well build capacity in the Border towns where it is cheaper, and reduce processing in Ontario. They will source milk as close as they can, and this might still be from, for example, milk from Listowel (normally processed in Guelph) could be trucked to a plant in Batavia NY, and finished-product delivered to the GTA.
A bit extreme, maybe....but possible (and note the US uses the State of Idaho for low cost milk production, modern efficient processing for some of their don't expect export-market expansion around the Great, it is all about cold-case product in centres of population).
On the farm. In recent years milk in the US has sold between 30 and 60 cents a litre. Ontario farmers will have to get used to the profit;loss cycles. Currently, equity levels are high, building and machinery stocks are excellent, so a period of negative margins is 'survivable', for sure. Since many older producers have their pension invested in their farm, however, once they see their equity eroding they might well quit. Larger and more efficient farms will be favoured. Smaller farms with small and remote pick ups might be in trouble first.

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