Discussion with dairy producers | News, Sports, Jobs

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EDITOR:

What I think I learned from a discussion made by dairy farmers:

What seemed very clear to me is that individualism and competition alone constitute a major drawback in a market controlled by large monopolistic companies in processing and distribution. The second thing is that mechanization allows larger operations to gain a price advantage due to lower unit cost. For example, going to 10 farms to fill a trailer with milk costs more than going to two. The third thing is the lack of control the small and medium dairy farmer has over the options they may have, largely because of the big processors. The last thing I heard was the mining of the materials they need to maintain the farm.

It seems to me that the power differential in the company will prevent any change in the company. It reminds me of why the labor movement started in the early part of the 20th century. Seems to me you can’t fight a tank with a stick. You have to find a way to collect yourself and become a tank too. In short, organize yourselves in such a way that many small producers become a Walmart.

The last point is that competition and cooperation are not mutually exclusive. Both can make a group stronger and more competitive.

Gilbert Engel

Niagara, Wis.



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