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Issue Home January 6, 2004 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Dairy Farmers Breathe A Sigh

When Parmalat USA issued milk checks to their producers on December 24 and 25, they temporarily discounted several rumors circulating around the milk shed.

Parmalat purchases milk from nearly 1,000 dairy farmers in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Their main source of milk comes from the old Farmland, Sunnydale and Welsh farm producers. Therefore with the worldwide news that Parmalat Europe was having severe financial problems, everyone was wondering how the European problem would affect operations in the United States.

Just because milk checks were out on time in December does not necessarily eliminate problems down the road. Usually, when things happen to a milk handler, they happen overnight and without warning.

The dairy farmers have three important points of concern: 1. Does the milk handler make timely payments to dairy farmers? Parmalat has. 2. Does the milk handler fulfill federal order obligations? Parmalat has. 3. In Pennsylvania, Parmalat pays into securities funds plus some bonds. Parmalat has made timely payments to the security funds.

my understanding that the PA Milk Marketing Board either has, or will be notifying all Parmalat producers in Pennsylvania of the financial security that Parmalat is providing to their producers. In addition, it is my understanding that various auditors are checking on Parmalat.

Another serious question to ask is, "Will Parmalat’s bonds be renewed in New York state?" This will answer many questions, since the last thing any dairy farmer needs is for any milk company to go bankrupt. Alternative markets are not available, like they used to be. All dairy farmers should watch this situation very closely.

The detection of Mad Cow Disease in the state of Washington is already creating jitters in the marketplace for beef cows and calves. Everyone is anxiously waiting to see what happens. Isn’t it strange that calf prices have nose-dived in some markets, even though the buyers take the calves?

Pro Ag, Family Farm Defenders, and the National Family Farm Coalition are sponsoring their next milk hearing on January 12, at the Tioga County Fairgrounds in Whitneyville, PA. The hearing begins at 10:00 a.m.

Several dairy farmers, agri-business people, and consumers are lined up to testify. We still have room for a few more. If you want to testify, please call Pro Ag at (570) 833–5776, or (814) 367–2788.


Arden Tewksbury

Meshoppen, PA

EDITOR’S NOTE: Parmalat’s bonds were renewed, on December 31, 2003, which was very good news for area dairy farmers.

"Olde Tyme" Promises

In times past, a person’s word and/or handshake was as good as his bond. Not any more! What happened? They must have gone the way of modern-day morals and respect. Specifically, I’m referring to the recently completed Habitat project on West Main St., Susquehanna. When the project started, they had the (original) dumpster dragged in and out over our front lawn, macadam sidewalks, and driveway entrance, practically up to the front porch steps; thereby creating a significant amount of damage. I.e.: deep ruts in all sections of the lawn, cracks and cave-ins in parts of the sidewalk.

I was promised, by the Director of Habitat (and subsequent director) that they would take care of all the damages. To date, nothing of consequence has been done. Thinking Habitat would take care of the problem when the project was completed and new lawn put in, was wishful; they never even repaired the lawn in the completed project.

After sending two or three letters to Habitat, copies of which were sent to the dumpster company, they were referred to two insurance companies, along with an estimate and cost of repairs by a local landscaper.

After conversing by letter and phone with both insurance companies, I was informed that the statute of limitation for damages had run out. I informed them that I sent letters to Habitat, long before the statue of limitation, but to no avail. Then, I informed Habitat of these proceedings in a letter dated November 11, 2003. To date, I have not received a reply.

In hopes of reaching a satisfactory resolution, I have delayed taking legal action, but I’m prepared to do so.


Paschal (Pat) Parrillo

Susquehanna, PA

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