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Issue Home December 17, 2008 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

A Christmas Present?

When the majority of dairy farmers open up their milk checks around December 24, one more time they will be shocked to find their advance check for the first 15 days of December’s milk to be $12.25 per cwt. ($1.05 per gallon). Many dairy farmers were alarmed when their advance check for November’s milk was $13.62 per cwt. ($1.47 per gallon). It is unbelievable and totally unacceptable that dairy farmers are receiving these kind of prices in 2008.

And you know what? It is only going to get worse!

Everyone knows the tremendous increase in the cost of operations on our dairy farms including, but not limited to, surcharges. Yep, dairy farmers get surcharged on their cost on one end and their pay prices get de-escalated on the other end. Will these surcharges be eliminated? Probably not.

Some people argue that corn prices and other grains are dropping. This is true, but only a small portion of the declining grain prices are flowing into the dairy rations that many dairy farmers purchase.

You know what it boils down to? Have you dairy farmers had enough of these pricing schemes you have witnessed since 1981? Are you ready to stand and demand you receive a fair price for your milk? Or, are you going to continue to follow the rhetoric of several? People in the dairy industry that actually, in our opinion, are working against your best interest.

During the debates on the last farm bill, Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) introduced a dairy bill (S 1722) that would have corrected many of the inequities facing dairy farmers. As a dairy farmer, where were you when this bill was considered?

Can things get worse? Of course things can get worse! Now, Jerry Kozak, CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has come up with some more brilliant ideas on how to take advantage of your dairy farmers. Kozak, who has apparently received some divine revelation from someone, wants to eliminate the way milk is priced today and also eliminate that nasty word “make allowance.” Kozak wants milk processors to compete for milk supplies and pay what is necessary for the milk. What Kozak doesn’t tell you is that when the processor competes for milk, they will have their “make allowances” disguised in their bids for supplies of milk. Yes, Kozak will eliminate the nasty words (which the processors wanted) “make allowance,” but they will come around the back door to cover their cost.

But, Mr. Kozak fails to mention how the dairy farmers will recoup their cost! Isn’t that amazing? Oh, yes, Kozak also wants to eliminate the prices support program and the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) Payments. He has some other brilliant ideas on how that money can be spent, like say, help processors produce casein and other protein products. That’s a good idea? Do you, as dairy farmers, realize that one of the main uses of casein is to produce imitation dairy products? So good ole Jerry says, take more money from dairy farmers so processors can produce products that, again will help lower prices to dairy farmers. Then finally, Kozak wants to kill more cows and breed heifers to reduce milk supplies, even though the USDA reports that we are a milk-deficit producing country.

Lets make one additional comment. Everyone knows that for a business to operate on a continued basis, they have to cover their costs, this is a given. However, Kozak should know better than to attempt to deceive everyone in saying, “We want to eliminate the make allowance!” No, Jerry, you just want to come in the back door and cover your cost. However, the worst travesty of Kozak’s remarks are his complete ignorance towards the needs of our dairy farmers to cover their costs!

It’s up to you dairy farmers. Do you want to follow the blind leadership of people like Jerry Kozak? Or are you willing to stand up with the people who truly want to correct the inequity facing dairy farmers? The decision is yours!

Pro Ag can be reached at (570) 833-5776 or proagorg@yahoo.com.


Arden Tewksbury

Manager, Pro Ag

You Made A Difference

No one ever really wants to put their loved one in a nursing home. However, sometimes the condition of our own health and the amount of care our loved one needs leads us to do otherwise. Such was the case with my mother, and I found myself doing what, for me at the time, seemed the unthinkable – putting her in a nursing home. Fortunately, the small community of Susquehanna where Mom lived, is blessed with an excellent skilled nursing facility at Barnes-Kasson. They provided a safe, clean, caring and compassionate environment for my mom, as well as a good deal of emotional support for us family members, especially during the last week of Mom’s life.

It impressed me that the aides, nurses, janitorial and housekeeping staff, doctors and all who work there actually cared about my mom, and the other residents as well, as a person. They quickly got to know Mom’s likes and dislikes. There were aides who made Mom tea just the way she liked it – two creams and three sugars. The nurses who came in with big smiles to check on how she was feeling and if she needed more pain medication. A smile really goes a long way to perk up any resident in a nursing home! The housekeeping gal would pop in for a quick hello and the activity gal quickly set Mom up with a CD player and her favorite big band music. There was a young aide who, with her own money, bought Mom a yard-sale Care Bear to comfort her when we weren’t there. After Mom passed away, that same Care Bear was given to Mom’s four-year old great-granddaughter as a way to help her understand and cope with the loss of her great-grandmother. One aid would periodically go around and polish the nails of any resident who wanted it. There are really hundreds of examples like these that I saw with my mother and with other residents as well. I would guess that it’s these many small acts of kindness that separate the good nursing homes from the not so good.

Over four months, I spent a considerable amount of time at Barnes-Kasson SNF and was most impressed by how they treat every resident with care, respect, compassion and as worthwhile human beings. The Barnes-Kasson Skilled Nursing Facility is not a fancy place, but it is a homey place with a caring, kind and dedicated staff. The job is a tough and demanding one, yet such a necessary one. Like so many facilities of its kind, it could always use more help and volunteers.

My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all at the Barnes-Kasson SNF for all you did to provide compassionate and quality care for my Mom, Katherine “Kitty” Myskiew, during her stay. You all work hard, and please know that it does make a difference in the lives of those you serve and also their families. It takes a special kind of person to do the work that you all do, and you are so very good at it. Your compassion, care and hard work are greatly appreciated by our family. Susquehanna is a lucky community to have you there.


Stephanie Olver

Troy, PA

Something Needs To Be Done

To my elected officials: If the cost of food does not come down this winter, many Americans will go hungry.

I need you to put a stop to the high cost of #2 fuel oil.

The high cost, which is higher than the price of a gallon of gasoline, is dead wrong and you all know it.

The high cost of everything in our country revolves around transportation. It may take some time to get the price lowered but it needs to come in line with other forms of energy. Pennsylvanians deserve the right price for energy. Not some out-of-the-picture excuse of abuse of power. Times are really getting hard, as if you don't know already, and when people have to choose between fuel for heat and food to eat, the shame is going be shared.

Diesel fuel has additives and road tax added to the cost, yes, but when heating oil is higher heads should roll. Talk about food for fuel, how wrong everyone made that out to be, well, let the chips fall where they may.

Please do something about it and keep it in the price range of the average person living in PA and America, and our world. What we do as Americans affects our world!


Pete Seman

Thompson, PA


Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

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