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Issue Home February 25, 2009 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

An Epitaph

On a tiny triangle of land in the center of a little village called Harford, a rock, a tree, and a gazebo. Unimportant to passers-by, but symbols of the people’s history, identity. Erased, because he could.

Enjoy your victory, Mr. Pinchot, in splendid isolation.


Mary A. Ketterer

Harford, PA

$9.59/cwt Milk Is Here!

Despite some people’s claiming it would never happen, the blend price for January’s milk in Order I will consist of $9.59 per hundredweight (cwt) for the portion of milk classified as Class IV milk (15%). In August, 2007, the Class IV price was $21.87 per cwt.

At a very successful press conference at La Plume on Wednesday, February 11, when we told them that their advance price for the first half of February’s delivered milk would be the same $9.59 per cwt price, many farmers said that this was “shocking, unbelievable, totally unacceptable.”

Pro Ag put together a dairy farmers’ rally. Many segments of agriculture were invited to the event. And come they did! Three television stations covered the rally, along with at least five newspaper reporters. All did a great job covering the event. Also in attendance were aides from Senator Arlen Specter’s, Senator Bob Casey’s, and Representative Chris Carney’s offices.

The rally has created a lot of coverage throughout a large area of Pennsylvania, and some of the statements even reached California. Scores and scores of consumers have reached out to me since the rally, assuring me that dairy farmers have their support, and they shake their heads in disbelief when they hear that neither USDA nor the US Congress will step in and correct the inequities facing all dairy farmers.

The “Milk Income Loss Contract” (MILC) payments, which are geared to help alleviate some of the dairy farmers’ losses, fall way short of covering the financial obligations that dairy farmers have. However, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) and several other senators including Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), and several more senators from other states are urging the Senate Sub-Committee on Agriculture Appropriations to commit funds to raise the “MILC” payments from 45% to 79% to cover the difference between the Boston actual Class I trigger price plus the “feed adjustor” factor that was added to the “MILC” payments in the last Farm Bill.

This would mean for February’s milk, if the trigger price was approximately $17.35 per cwt, then the price paid to dairy farmers would be 45% of the difference between $17.35 and the Boston price of $13.97. This would mean a payment of $1.52 per cwt. However, if the 45% is raised to 79%, then the payment would be approximately $2.68 per cwt. This would be a help, but it falls way short of covering the dairy farmers’ costs. These figures clearly illustrate the need for a new pricing formula, which must contain the dairy farmers’ cost of producing milk.

It was brought to my attention over the weekend that the three Commissioners or Secretaries of Agriculture from Vermont, New York, and Pennsylvania are urging the US Secretary of Agriculture to open up a section of the Farm Bill to examine how the Secretary might improve the relationship between the supply and demand of milk. Quoting from their news release, they say, “The current demand and supply imbalance in the domestic dairy industry presents an imminent threat to the economic stability and welfare of dairy farmers, allied industries, and the overall US economy.” No kidding! What have these three gentlemen been proposing since the early fall of 2008?

Pro Ag has had continual editorials out predicting this mess. The three proclaim to be the “Northeast Dairy Leadership Team.” Is writing a letter to the US Secretary of Agriculture their answer to the problem?

Maybe they haven’t heard of “608(c)18” from the 1937 Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act (AMAA) or the Specter-Casey Bill (S-1722).

Have they heard about the Department of Justice investigation into the dairy industry, or did they ever talk to Allee Ramadhan, the chief investigator for the Justice Department? Did they know that Ramadhan told dairy farmers in Louisiana that he found more improprieties in the dairy industry than were found in the Enron scandal?

What did the “Leadership Team” do regarding the misreporting in the milk powder scandal that has cost dairy farmers 50 million dollars ($50 million) at the minimum? Have they heard about the twelve million dollar ($12 million) fine that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) levied against a large dairy cooperative because of questionable trading practices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)?

I would urge the “Leadership Team” to explain why some farmers will be encouraged to slaughter more cows, while at the same time thousands of cows and bred heifers are being brought into the US from Canada.

I would ask the three gentlemen to request an interpretation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine if “milk protein concentrate” (MPC) is a legal food ingredient, and then find out why it is being imported into the United States where it is, in essence, displacing US-produced powdered milk.

The granddaddy of all questions for the three “Leadership Team” members to ask the US Secretary of Agriculture is, “Why does the USDA continue to publish the cost of producing milk in all parts of America but will not bring these costs into a pricing formula for dairy farmers?”

These and other questions are what our three state Agriculture Secretaries should be getting answered.

Also disturbing is that a dairy co-op in New York State is telling their members that if current conditions improve, then dairy farmers might receive $30.00 per cwt for their milk in 2010. Preposterous.

Ah, at last, Moses is going to lead the dairy farmers to the “Promised Land.”

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


Arden Tewksbury

Manager, Pro Ag

Support Local Music

My name is Joshua McKinney. I am a senior at Susquehanna Community High School. For my senior project, I am hosting a “Battle of the Bands” to be held in the High School gymnasium on Saturday, March 14, from 5 to 10 p.m. This event will feature area bands made up of high school students. Tickets are available at the door.

Please come and support local music. I think you will be very surprised at the abundance of musical talent our area has to offer. All proceeds will be donated to the Johnny Edwards/John Napolitano Musical Scholarship Fund.

For more information, call (570) 853-3260.


Joshua McKinney

Susquehanna, PA

Good News, Bad News

Pope Benedict the Sixteenth is closer than any Roman pontiff has been to revealing the entire, unedited third secret of the Fatima Revelations from God. The latest campaign for its release, after 48 years, was conducted openly by the Italian press for the last few years. It exposed a number of cover-ups by the Vatican secretary that obviously was meant to disavow the obligation and need of the church to obey the message of Fatima, delivered by the Blessed Virgin Mary. The promises she made were substantiated by 10,000 witnesses to one of the greatest miracles of all time.

However, the main object of God’s intervention at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 is for the church to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. John Paul II admitted he did not do it verbatim. The result is increased persecution, the removal of God publicly, and the implementation of socialist communism. Yet, when the pope and bishops finally comply, we will have seven years of peace, as promised by Our Lady of Fatima, a peace free from abortifacients and war. We must continue to pray for the Holy Father to do these things and stand behind our bishops, that they may correct or cut off our politicians who embrace abortion.

For more information, go to www.fatima.org.


John Mann

Susquehanna, 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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