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Issue Home January 21, 2009 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Dairy Farmers’ Prices Crash

As we have predicted, the price paid to dairy farmers will soon be down to the $12.00 per cwt range. The actual price paid to Order 1 producers for their December, 2008 milk deliveries, will be $15.06 per cwt at Boston, Massachusetts. Some may say that price is not all that bad. Some may point out that the Class I price for January, 2009 actually increased over the December, 2008 price. However, the severe crash in the cheese prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) will have a strong relationship with all manufactured milk prices for January deliveries, and the crash will be felt on all milk prices on February’s deliveries. The price paid to dairy farmers for February’s milk could drop to $13.00 per cwt or lower, and certainly March’s prices could be even lower yet.

All of this spells serious problems for the majority of dairy farmers. Many of us have seen this train wreck coming, but nothing was done to ward off the crash. Unfortunately, it appears that many elected officials are not aware of the dairy farmers’ problems, and those that are aware seem to think that nothing can be done regarding the dairy farmers’ dilemma. Let’s make it clear! We are very aware of the financial condition of this country. My heart aches when I hear about the number of people losing their jobs. Last fall I wrote an editorial stating the Wall Street mess resembles what is happening to the dairy farmers.

Corrective actions must be taken. Many legislators feel the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) payments will solve the problem. We totally agree with the statement made by a dairy farmer in Harrisburg, PA, on Monday, January 12, “The MILC payments are only a band-aid on an open wound.”

Working closely with the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) from Washington, DC we have formulated several suggestions to correct the dairy farmers’ financial problem. We strongly favor a complete, new, dairy policy for the United States, including, but not limited to, a new pricing formula.

For the interim we are strongly urging the following suggestions.

1. Use the pricing and milk supply provisions contained in S1722, the Specter-Casey bill, referred to as “The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2007.”

2. Place a floor price of $17.00 per cwt on all manufactured milk except Class IV. This is milk primarily used for butter and powdered milk. The Class IV market could be the clearinghouse for excess milk, if it exists.

3. Place a $3.00 or $4.00 per cwt differential on all milk used for fluid purposes (bottled milk, etc.).

Let me say this, for December deliveries, the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board has a $2.86 per cwt add-on price to the value of Class I milk produced and sold in Pennsylvania. Can someone tell me why this can’t be done nationally?

Some cooperatives are suggesting that the government help fund another dairy herd reduction (cow-kill) program. Figures we are hearing indicate the number of cows to be slaughtered could be between 100,000–500,000. Have we completely lost our sanity in this country? Many people in this country are going to be hungry. If the officials in Washington want to spend money in the stimulus package, then why not set aside funds for the time being to purchase food items, such as these excess milk products and other nutritional foods.

Time is of the essence!!


Arden Tewksbury

Manager, Pro Ag

Meshoppen, PA

To My Congressman

I will get to the point here because of the inauguration.

The price of #2 heating oil needs to change. The price needs to drop to below what one gallon of gasoline sells for. Maybe your office is not aware that #2 heating oil is used for many Americans to heat their homes. I am quite sure someone already told you, but I hope it is not a surprise to you, Sir! I have a bill from 1998; #2 oil was 65.9 cents a gallon.

What happened? Did you think we forgot about 10 years ago prices?

I am asking you, Sir, to start in motion a bill to be passed in Washington ASAP to lower the price of #2 heating oil to the American people. This is not a lot to ask, and maybe you won't be able to do it soon, however I will be waiting and watching, and I am sure the press will also, for you to at least try.

The colder it gets in America, the higher the price goes, and that’s wrong. Americans are hurting, trying to pay bills just to keep their homes. Food. Drugs. Lights. The interest on credit cards also need to be addressed. One second late, and bye bye good credit.

America is bigger than that. I know you are, also.

Thank You Sir!


Peter A. Seman

Thompson, PA

We Need Your Input

Let me start this letter by stating that I am a member of the Susquehanna Borough Council, but my letter does not represent the opinions of all the Susquehanna Borough Council members. Over several meetings this year, there has been discussion of banning parking on any portion of W. Main St. from 3rd Ave. west to the borough line.

We were part of a citizen-generated committee established to find a resolution to the parking problem without the residents of W. Main St. losing their parking. At a recent council meeting, several residents of W. Main St., as well as other West Hill residents attended a special council meeting in regards to advertising an ordinance to ban parking on W. Main St. They passionately objected to any parking ban. The discussion with the council was lengthily.

During the discussion, the council made reference to the liability for allowing the parking, and that all of the council members have been receiving complaints from citizens, school bus drivers and others who meet a large truck face-to-face if they do not pull over and yield the right of way.

When asked about all these complaints, was there a list compiled, and why weren’t the people who were complaining not attending any of these aforementioned meetings, this struck a note with me. They have not attended any of the meetings, and an accurate record of complaints has not been kept. So I guess what I am asking is, does the parking on W. Main St. cause a safety problem? We all know it is inconvenient if you have ever driven on W. Main St.

The purpose of this letter is not to have all of the community decide how the residents of W. Main St. park, but to establish whether a longstanding tradition of parking has now become a safety issue with the increase of traffic, especially heavy truck traffic. So as a matter of information, if any citizens have an opinion one way or the other, call the borough office Monday/Friday, 853-3235; send a letter to the borough building, 83 Erie Blvd.; or better yet, attend a borough council meeting. The council has studied the parking issues on all the borough streets, and the police department will be enforcing the parking and snow ordinances as instructed, that have not been enforced in the past few years.


David J. Scales, Sr.

Member of Council

Susquehanna Borough

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.

Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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