Producers deserve marketplace premium
I enjoyed your editorial, “Branded, Naturally: ‘Organic Lite’ Marketing Escalates” in the August 2009 editions of Western/Eastern DairyBusiness.
I believe that is exactly what consumers need to see, as “branding” and labeling have become misused, and continue to mislead.
I posted your information to my latest blog, http://dairygoddess.wordpress.com. I am very new at blogging, but I am tired of sitting behind and allowing the many injustices in our industry. Most importantly I want to put a “face” on our industry, so the consumers know who is behind the product.
Editorial prompted posting on blog site
The editorial by by Dave Natzke in the August 2009 edition of Western/Eastern DairyBusiness was “spot on.” DairyBusiness Communications was in the forefront, accurately warning producers they could lose an approved technology, while gaining none of the economic benefit of “organic lite” premiums.
Consumer concerns today are eating about a healthy, balanced diet, and climate change. Producers and producer organizations don’t need to spend money hiring consultants to figure this out. U.S. dairy farmers have the right to “brand” terms such as “natural” and “humanely raised” because it is the overwhelming majority of U.S. dairy farmers who are doing just that. Having a license to operate should also warrant some of the premiums in the marketplace, now more than ever.
Time for dairy leadership to help industry compete
This letter was triggered by Dave Natzke’s “Branded, Naturally” slam dunk editorial in the August 2009 edition of the Western/Eastern DairyBuisness magazine.
This letter is not meant to address individual farm efficiency strategies, but to spur ideas for dairy and U.S. leaders to lay a foundation so individual farms can compete in an environment of excellence, fairness, justice and stability.
Facing the hard realities: Our industry must decide whether we want to compete and supply dairy to ourselves and the world, or wait, react and buy products elsewhere.
The crossroad: U.S. automakers are also at this juncture. GM reports losing $10,000/car on some models. Limiting supply and increasing price would be a laughable response. Rather, unprecedented leadership with vision to not only keep up with competition, but to blow its doors off with innovative efficient dependable products ensures its future.
So here we are, turning left looks like this: We do an OK job and pat ourselves on the back a lot to feel good. We’re satisfied, being led by a few fundraising activist organizations and some short-sighted dairy processors. We focus only on increasing our price by dumping milk, begging to taxpayers, confusing consumers by implying that only “my” milk is safe, or attempting to shut off dairy imports.
Turning right looks like this: Diligently prepare to compete with leadership that pulls us out of the fires of distraction and sets our sights on excellence – excellence from production to the store shelf.
Today, because of our struggles, I am convinced that together the American dairymen has the potential to finally find all the lost pieces to our puzzle and with focused teamwork to ensure fair competition. If:
• we seek out answers and leaders that end corruption within our industry and leaders that reveal the qualities of dairy to a world that is seeking health; and
• we have leaders that prepare us for world trade by putting all the pieces together. Then, and only then, will we be in position to thrive. We, meaning everyone from the farmer to the consumer.
Natzke’s editorial brings out three pieces to this puzzle:
1) Leadership that implements animal disease and well-being standards and certification programs, now – within our industry.
2) Leadership that demands proper compensation to the dairymen that supply and ‘organic lite’ or any requested specialty product.
3) An industry that celebrates truth, efficiency and honesty with each other and the consumer.
Also, consider more great pieces to the puzzle I’ve heard (do you have any to add?):
1) Lower the U.S. somatic cell count limit to at least international standards, now!
2) Require all imported dairy products pay the 15¢/cwt. dairy promotion fees (fluid equivalent).
3) Continually update and improve websites, such as Dairyfarmingtoday.org, dairyspot.com and others, and put these websites on as many dairy product packaging as possible, and require them on all imported dairy product packaging.
4) Be proud that we produce milk; be educated as new discoveries are made on God’s miracle food. It’s the sports drink of the future. Supply it at your events – not so you can profit more, but because it’s truly the healthy choice.
5) Start a new slogan. How about “Power Up With Dairy!” or “Power Up With Ice Cold Milk!”
To make this list complete, we need input from everyone. Please help.
Dairymen and fundraising coordinator for the Lebanon County Dairy Promotion committee, Lebanon, Pa.
• To offer your own opinion or response, e-mail Dave Natzke, national editorial director, DairyBusiness Communications, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.