Survey reveals extent of dairy economic pain

About  200 dairy farmers, agribusiness people and politicians gathered at central New York’s  Morrisville State, in mid July, to discuss the current dairy economic crisis. The meeting was organized by David Rama, of The Cattle Exchange, with support from the New York Holstein Association, and Beth Keene, of the Morrisville Dairy Department.

As part of the meeting, participants answered a questionnaire. Questions and results are listed below:


1. How many years have you been a dairy producer? Average was 27.96 years


2. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the current dairy crisis in relation to past situations (1 being the least severe and 10 would be the most severe): 75% responded as a 10; 21% responded as a 9.


3. Can you produce milk and make a profit at the current price you are receiving?

99% responded no


4. Would you support a supply management program? 86% responded yes. 14% responded no


5. Do you understand the milk pricing system as it pertains to your location?

60% responded no


6. Do you think the co-ops are acting in all producers’ best interest?

95% responded not enough; 5% responded enough.


7. Less than 1% of the cheese produced in this country is traded on the CME, setting the price you receive. Do you consider this a fair pricing system? 97% responded no


8. Are you concerned about the safety of the U.S. food supply with the imports of dairy products and MPC’s that are entering from unknown origins? 97% responded yes


9. Are you current on all accounts payables.  If no, how many months behind?

 (30% responded yes, however, many indicated they had borrowed, used savings or had other income.) 26% responded 30 days past due; 17% 60 days past due; 13% 90 days past due; 14% responded 120 days or longer past due).


10. If you have a mortgage on your farm, have you had to refinance or negotiate interest only payments to your lending institution in the past year? 75% responded no (but many made notations they were on the verge of doing)