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Dairy Farmers Left Behind, Again

Without any reservation, the residents of the United States and many sections around the world are living through one of the worst disasters we have ever experienced during peace time. As we write this news release, the US Senate still has not resolved the new needed stimulus package. We all hope that the irresponsible, unneeded items will be taken out of the package.

There are probably millions of Americans that will have temporary benefits from the stimulus package.

The trucking industry and the food store owners and workers are due a big thank you for their unselfish, fine efforts. However, one more time we are hearing very little, if anything, about our agriculture producers, and especially our dairy farmers.

Dairy farmers are not only hard workers, they are also small business owners. It's inevitable that dairy farmers must have some consideration.

Two weeks ago, we spent 2 and a half days in Washington, DC and passed out information to all the Pennsylvania Congressmen and a few in New York State. We informed all of them that we are having the new version (improved) of the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act looked at. However for the time being, we need some legislation to help our dairy farmers handle the present crisis. We are urging Congress to pass legislation that would place a $20 floor price under all milk used to manufacture dairy products.

One thing is essential, our dairy farmers need help and need it now. If needed, we are urging Congress to make funds available to reimburse the manufacturers of dairy products that would make up the difference between the so-called market price and the emergency called-for $20 floor price.

There are now eleven Federal Milk Marketing Orders. The value of the milk used to manufacture dairy products is the same in each order. Already, money is being exchanged within each of the Federal orders between the manufacturers of dairy products and those that bottle fluid milk. The milk handlers would then be able to pay their producers the new statistical price.

The value of fluid milk would still work off of the $20 floor price. Under this program, the average dairy farmer would receive an approximate pay price in Order #1 of $21 per cwt. (hundred-weight). The pay price would be different in each of the Federal Orders depending on their utilization factor. Some may say there might be wrinkles in this proposal, but they certainly can be worked out. Some may say a supply management program should be added.

Please remember that the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act would correct all these problems.

Presently in all Federal Orders, the handlers who use the milk for manufactured purposes draw money from their Federal Order that is paid in by fluid handlers. Is this going to be a problem? Not really. Will it be complicated? Only if we make it that way. This exchange of money happens each month within all the Federal Orders. This way, the beginning statistical price is the same, no matter where your milk is shipped.

Pro-Ag can be reached at 570-833-5776.


Arden Tewksbury, Pro-Ag Manager, Meshoppen, PA

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Editorial In Nature

I read the letters every week and every week I get more disheartenend by the missives of Mr. Bob Scroggins and his hating and demeaning every single thing in the public eye. For once, I would like to see his byline praising someone or something of issue. That being said, I noticed that this week he seems to have extended his literary license to the undeniable world of mathematics. He states broadly that 70 deaths in a population of 325 million gives odds of 1 in 5,000,000...actually it's 1 in 4.64 million that he rounded up to embellish, but no big deal. He then goes on to grossly misstate the odds when comparing Corona to a lottery. With his numbers 1 in 5,000,000 (Corona) vs 1 in 175,000,000 (Lottery) he states an individual is twice as likely to hit the lottery than he is to die from Corona. By his own numbers a person is actually 35 times more likely to get knocked out by Corona than he is to hit the lottery. I realize that his writings are editorial in nature and his facts are only checked as far as he wants to check them, but this is ridiculous.


Robert Muiter, Susquehannna, PA

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The Phony War

In 1939 England and France gave Hitler an ultimatum; if you invade Poland, we will declare war. Hitler invaded; England and France declared war, and what happened? Nothing; it was the Phony War. Six months later, the quiet conflict was over, all sides, now including the US and the Russian Soviet, started trading bombs and bullets.

There's a Phony War today. It's the war against a mythical adversary, the corona-virus. It seems real until one looks at the numbers. Then the corona-virus appears for what it is, a phantom foe.

As of March 20th, the death toll for the corona-virus in the US is 276. To the affected families, one death is one too many, but compared to the 330,000,000 in the US, 276 shrinks to an insignificant fraction. To be precise, it's 0.00008 percent.

Even this sliver of a fraction might be inflated. Unless the cause of death is identified explicitly as the corona-virus, it is highly probable that it will be conflated with other flu viruses and labeled as corona.

More good news. If you're not in the high-risk group – those who are 60 and over with pre-existing health problems such as diabetes I or II, smoking, a heavy drinker, or overweight – then your odds of succumbing to an assault by the corona-virus are roughly equivalent to death by shark attack.

However, some scary flu stats are real. Here are a few compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Every year since 2010, the CDC recorded between 12,000 and 60,000 deaths annually. During that same period, between 140,000 to 800,000 were hospitalized. The range can decrease or quadruple, depending on the potency of the flu virus.

But deaths and hospitalizations are rare among the young and healthy, but zoom skyward as time takes its revenge on your immune system. And that raises a pivotal question: Why do some people never seen to have colds, let alone the flu, while others are either getting over one bug only to come down with another?

Suppose you're one of the lucky few who seldom get a cold or the flu. Sorry, but you have had dozens and dozens of colds and scores of flu infections. Still, like the Phony War, nothing happened because your immune system attacked and held the offending pathogens at bay but not annihilated. They lurk within your body, waiting for a chink in your resistant armor to declare open hostilities once again.

Your intestines (about 20 feet of tubing) contain three pounds of microbes; that's more bacterial cells than tissue cells in the body. Most of them are beneficial, but not all. As long as the precarious balance is kept, you are not aware of the warfare that rages within your body.

Balance is key. Fortunately, your microscopic squatters have specific dietary needs. A CAT scan reveals their food preferences and their vulnerability.

A CAT scan uses X-rays and a computer to create pictures of your organs, bones, and other tissues. First, you're given a sugar-rich, mildly-radioactive drink. Then you're guided into a tube; a 360-degree X-ray image of your innards is taken.

Cancer cells thrive on sugar; they consume the sweet drink greedily. The radioactivity causes the cancerous tissue to glow on the X-ray negative. Sugar craving is their weak point, one that it has in common with disease-causing germs in your gut.

Too bad. All the foods and drinks that we love are laced with sugar: candy, soda, cookies, pies, cakes, and all flour products, which digest rapidly to sugar. Sweets are not a treat; they are a threat. Many health professionals identify sugar as the main causative factor in morbidity and mortality.

Experts warn that the nation needs to reverse trends in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, or it will bankrupt our healthcare system.

The AHA predicts that costs related to these diseases will double from $555 billion in 2016 to more than $1 trillion in 2035.

The other side of the war against illness is to keep the beneficial bacteria, those that manufacture vitamins and enzymes, well-fed. Upgrade your diet to include unprocessed foods, whole unpasteurized milk, yogurt (plain made with whole milk), cheeses, grass-fed beef, sardines, generous amounts of vegetables, plus fruits that are low in sugar.

In a word, change your diet from one that is disease-producing to one that is health-promoting. We had better turn the tables on our eating habits, or the tables will turn on us.


Bob Scroggins, New Milford, PA

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These Can Be Happy Days

March 25th is the happiest day in March and of all time. Today is the great feast of the Annunciation. I humbly write this today to remind all of you that March 25th is also the feast of the Incarnation! The Annunciation is when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and said "Hail holy favored one of God, you are to be the Mother of God." (God is composed of 3 Divine Persons: Father, Son - meaning Jesus, and The Holy Spirit.)

The Holy Spirit came upon Mary (ever virgin) and miraculously Jesus began His journey to be born 9 months later on Christmas - December 25th.

The Holy Spirit that came over Mary, she did not see, but she certainly felt it as it transpired in her body. The wind that blows around us cannot be seen, but we also feel it.

The Incarnation is the Great Feast that also started on March 25th. This Feast is when Jesus, as a Divine Person, also became a human being like us. Jesus lived a most humble life, but was happy because of Mary and Joseph, His step-father, and the Heavenly Host of Angels that assisted Him at so many times. The Holy Spirit is also with us if we stay out of mortal sin. The Divine Mercy of Jesus will also help us if we ask Jesus and also Mary his Mother.

Some people wonder how God can hear all of our prayers. God has a name for every drop of water, every speck of sand on earth and every star in the heavens. God certainly hears our prayers.

Be happy because we need to be happy and smile, smile and smile.

The Great Feast of Easter is coming on April 12th!


Bruce Moorhead, Susquehanna, PA

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