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Issue Home February 7, 2007 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

It’s Time To Unite

The members of the United States Congress can no longer ignore what is happening to the majority of dairy farmers throughout the US.

2006 was a painful year for dairymen, and many may not be able to recover from their staggering losses.

Some people are now pointing out that milk prices are starting to go up, and everything will be all right. Not so!

The pay price to dairy farmers may go over $15.00 per cwt., but the milk prices are expected to level off and drop during the remainder of the year.

Isn’t it amazing that prices to dairy farmers are starting to escalate at a time when more and more dairy farmers are grouping together to hold various public meetings to expound on their financial crisis? Also, many items are being tossed around concerning the upcoming Farm Bill.

However, dairy farmers should not be deceived. There will not be anything done constructive in the Farm Bill unless dairy farmers continue to escalate their efforts demanding changes in the method that determines the dairymen’s pay price.

Several states (mainly in the East), either through their legislators or state agencies, have taken valiant steps to help dairy farmers in their individual states. While these efforts are very noble and sincere, they fall way short of correcting the dairy farmers’ plight.

Somehow, we must unite the efforts of these sincere dairy farmers and hold our US Congress accountable for what is happening.

Countless millions of dollars were spent in 2006 to elect the new Congress in Washington. The result was that the majority of voters want changes. Efforts to raise the national minimum wage are already heating up and will hopefully be resolved. Other important matters will be addressed in Washington – and rightfully so.

However, there are few concerns that are as important for our rural communities as the crisis facing our dairy farmers. Dairy farmers and agri-business people must put continued pressure on members of Congress and urge them to take corrective steps. (Remember, many of these elected officials had time to travel all over the US to get one another elected.)

Once again, please do not expect the USDA to take any corrective actions to improve the prices to dairy farmers. For years, dairy farmers have known that the Secretary of Agriculture is required by law to factor the dairy farmers’ cost of production in the basic federal milk pricing formula. Why isn’t he?

Recently, concerning the low milk prices, one high ranking USDA official told a farmer, “I don’t see where there is a problem; there appears to be enough milk out there.” This comment comes from a USDA official, in spite of the fact that the US is a dairy deficit nation that has not produced enough domestic milk to meet our consumers’ needs for years!

As I said earlier, many sincere efforts are being made on behalf of dairy farmers. However, these efforts should be united.

In September, 2006, the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) sent proposals to the USDA illustrating a new procedure on pricing milk. When we realized the proposals would not be acted on favorably by USDA, we started working with members of Congress in helping to develop a new dairy bill that closely reflects the NFFC’s proposal. I would hope that the proposed dairy bill will be ready for review in two weeks.

Some of the highlights of the proposed dairy bill would be: price milk to all US dairy farmers on the national average cost of producing milk; combine Class II and Class III milk under one class of milk (probably would be classified as Class II milk); include an inventory management program as part of the bill; prevent imports of dairy products from distorting dairy farmers’ prices; prohibit “make allowance” costs from lowering dairy farmer’s prices.

Other points strongly to be considered are: eliminating all hauling costs currently being assessed on dairy farmers; clarifying whether dairy farmers should receive a national Class I price or should dairy farmers maintain existing differentials in the Federal Orders to establish Class I prices.

Remember the following important facts: the proposed dairy bill is not geared to cost the USDA any additional funds; the cost of the inventory management program will be covered by the cheaper value of excessive milk that is produced beyond the needs of the real market; the inventory management program will kick in only if the value of milk is established at the farm level, and only if imports of dairy products are not allowed to distort dairy farmer prices.

If you, as a dairy farmer, have better ideas, then the National Family Farm Coalition would like to hear from you. Call them at 1-800-639-3276.


Arden Tewksbury

Meshoppen, PA

The Next Best Thing

When people ask me, “Would we be using up all our corn crop to make ethanol?” my answer is, no. Some of our corn crop now is being used, but only for a few more years.

Anyway, I don’t want to cloud the picture. Our country depends on foreign, imported, blood-red oil about 60 percent.

We need to look at the picture one more time, see that if we, as Americans, do not use our natural renewable resources now and sacrifice a few pennies for food now, we will only allow our enemies a greater hold on us.

Don’t cloud the whole picture of ethanol, bio diesel and bio mass. Support our farmers, allow them a chance. They need us as much as we need them. They put a 7-1 ratio of economy into our economy. I feel that as hard as it has been to the American farmers, I know they deserve our support, as do our soldiers away from home. We need to push to build ethanol and bio diesel plants today. It will be the next best thing we, as citizens can do, other than buy American made products.

Imports may be cheaper, but buying American is better long-term!


Peter A. Seman

Ararat Twp.

Seeking Historical Records

The Susquehanna Fire Department is asking for help from all County Transcript readers.

We have been attempting to reconstruct the history of fire departments in Susquehanna Borough. We have some records from the Chemical Engine Co., but we are missing a huge amount of history about the Erie Hose Co.

As we understand, there was a fire at the Erie Hose Station in the mid 1940's, which destroyed the engine and ambulance as well as all the records.

I was always under the impression that there were several fire departments in the borough in the 1800’s before the Chemical and Erie Hose. We are attempting to establish a time line in regards to the ambulance service that has been provided by the Erie Hose and now the Susquehanna Fire Dept.

If anyone can help us with information, articles, or pictures, we would be very grateful. We would like to scan any pictures and articles into our computer database, and we will return them to the owners unless they are willing to donate them to the department archives.

If anyone can help please contact me at 853-3861 or sfdems@echoes.net, or contact any member of the department. We hope that this request will result in documenting our history.


Dave Scales

EMS Captain

Susquehanna Fire Dept.

U, U, U, And U

The war against Iran has started. As with all wars, the opening salvos are words, these fired by the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in a report titled, "Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat." The report lists the reasons why Iran poses a "security threat to our nation." But the committee's findings were so fraught with errors that it prompted a letter written by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The IAEA called the report "outrageous and dishonest... filled with erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated statements." It went on to methodically list its inaccuracies, correcting each, often in highly technically detail.

But the IAEA missed the point. The Select Committee's report was right on target. It was a propagandistic exercise, crude but effective.

The "select" members had the appearance of being selected by those with U.S. hegemonic ambitions, a cabal of military/industrial interests, Iranian dissidents, factions of the Christian right, and the Israeli Lobby. Its purpose was not to win minds with an accurate and disinterested thesis; propaganda does not operate on that level. Its target was the heart, to sway feelings, inflame emotions, and to create a reservoir of news bits and sound bytes.

In time the technical and stuffy rebuff of the IAEA will be forgotten, and the "outrageous and dishonest" report will be mined for quotes and bogus information to support an increasingly belligerent White House.

The administration and its hand-picked sources, including the House report, believe that Iran is within months of developing an atomic bomb. The CIA cites the timeline to be somewhere between five and ten years. The administration believes that the Iranian people are eager to join foreign efforts to overthrow their government. The CIA believes that this will prove to be false, just as it had in Iraq.

Many have suggested a dialogue with Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to defuse a contrived crisis. "No, I'm not going to meet with him," was the President's adamant reply. He continued, "I have made it clear to the Iranian regime that we will sit down with the Iranians once they verifiably suspend their enrichment program."

What's that! President Bush will enter negotiations about suspending their uranium enrichment if they first suspend their enrichment program. It's very much like a factory owner agreeing to negotiation with the union about a wage increase if the union first agrees to forego demands for a wage increase.

The President's preconditions are designed to make negotiations impossible and to prepare for military action.

Sometime between now and several months before his term in office expires in January 2009, the President must make a choice. Either he must initiate military action against Iran or grudgingly accept Iran's nuclear development and suffer the personal humiliation of impotent acceptance. Is there any doubt which one the "war president," as he styles himself, will choose?

During the final days in Nam our troops would print four U's on their helmets: the Unwilling, led by the Unqualified, doing the Unnecessary, for the Ungrateful. Maybe it's time to have those four U's on our bumpers right alongside of the yellow ribbons.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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