Dairy Crisis

What We Fight For

  1. The creation of an effective alternative dairy policy
  2. Fair farm-gate milk price that includes the cost of production, plus a profit
  3. Exposing the impact of increasing corporate concentration on struggling family dairies
  4. The enforcement of anti-trust laws that would allow increased competition within the dairy market

Dairy Farms Are Hemorrhaging
America has lost over half its dairy farmers in the past sixteen years while prices for dairy farmers have crashed below 1970 prices. Dairy farmers are in crisis, largely due to a broken pricing system and rampant corruption in the dairy industry. Milk pricing is consistently manipulated by traders at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), creating a system that only benefits a handful of large agribusinesses and abusive dairy cooperatives, such as Land O’ Lakes, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), and its affiliates National Dairy Holdings, Dairy Marketing Services (DMS), DairyAmerica, Dean Foods, Fonterra, and others.

Due to NFFC’s efforts and protests, Dairy Farmers of America was fined $12 million for price manipulation in December 2008 but the problem continues. The late Bryan Wolfe, an Ohio dairy farmers noted that “With these prices, many experts predict only 20% of dairy farmers will be able to survive the coming months. This would be a catastrophe for both our rural communities and for consumers demanding local, fresh milk and wary of tainted dairy imports.”

NFFC Dairy Subcommittee

The Dairy Subcommittee operates as part of the Farm and Food Policy Task Force. NFFC’s dairy farmer constituents formed the Subcommittee to address the need for a national forum to coordinate effective responses to the current dairy crisis. The Dairy Subcommittee is composed of dairy farmers who work for long-term policy solutions. Participants represent farm and rural organizations from all over the country, but concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest. Mostly dairy farmers, Subcommittee members have expertise conducting research and analysis on dairy issues, working with public officials to seek policy change, and providing information to the press and media.

Dairy Subcommittee Priorities

  1. Defend the integrity of dairy products-protecting the Food and Drug Administration’s current definition of milk, yogurt, and ice cream.
  2. Petition U.S. and state governments to enforce and uphold the law-particularly Food and Drug Administration’s warning companies that use an illegal dairy ingredient called milk protein concentrate.
  3. Explore and promote alternative marketing and production models for dairy products.
  4. Network with consumer, student, religious, and other groups to build a coalition that advocates for social justice within various dairy issues.
  5. Provide an effective voice for dairy farmers, offering an alternative to corporate fronts that purport to represent family farmers through cooperatives.
  6. Expose corporations’ price manipulation on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).