California dairy farmers rally at state capitol
By Barbara Martin
Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese
Tony Martin Dairy
Hundreds of California Dairy farmers united yesterday 9/13/12 and headed to the state capitol in Sacramento to be heard. Some took buses, others carpooled and even more made the trek alone. Click here for the video of the speakers from yesterdays rally.
September 4th a lawsuit was filed against the CDFA . We dairy farmers have asked three times for a fair price for our milk. Three times we have been denied. Secretary Ross is not following the law. The law is very clear, “the price announced by CDFA must be in reasonable alignment with prices paid for comparable milk produced and sold around the country”. This law has not been followed. California dairy farmers have continued to be paid $2.00 per hundred weight less for our milk than our neighboring states. That is 20 million dollars we have been robbed.
We are not asking for a bail out. We are not asking that this be paid by the tax payers. We do not want the price of dairy products to go up in the stores. We ONLY want our fair share.
What is fair and balanced about the processors making record profits and dairy farmers losing thousands upon thousands of dollars every month.
Three hundred dairy families are already gone. Another 100 dairy families are to exit. This is a crisis! In any other industry it would have been deemed so.
I wanted to be part of this historic moment. It started by two dairy farmers, Jim Wilson and Gary Van Ryn having dinner with their families and feeling frustrated and tired they decided that they needed to do something about it. They contacted Kevin Kruse from Western Milling and together they got the ball rolling. I immediately jumped on board for this effort. We have laid down too long. I mean, If I am going out I am going standing tall with my boots on. I, like the rest of us there have had enough.
I have been disgusted with our leadership that is suppose to be representing us and have failed. I mean they throw out words say they are doing their best. They plan informational meetings to see what will be the best course of action. They remind us at every meeting that things are bound to get better…. Blah Blah Blah
Western United Dairymen, our largest dairy organization that exists because of the dues that dairy farmers pay was not there yesterday. Our co-ops like California Dairy Inc, Land O’Lakes, Hilmar Cheese, and DFA were not there. Why you ask??? I will tell you why. They are worried about “upsetting” Secretary Ross. They do not want to ruin their “great” relationship. They don’t want to lose the “great” communication that they have with the Secretary and CDFA. Really?? We have been nothing but denied any request that we have made. This is politics. This is our business that we our business that we are dealing with. This isn’t about a popularity contest. It’s not about who she “likes” the most. She is a public servant. It is her job not to make decisions based on who she likes the most. This isn’t personal. This isn’t about giving the teacher an apple for a better grade. It is about the law and our rights. It is about what is fair!
What was confirmed to me yesterday was who it was truly looking out for the dairy farmers and that, was in majority, US! The dairy farmers standing together united! We did have political support with David Valadao and a few more public officers. We did have Milk Producers Council there and we had California Dairy Campaign too. This showed me finally what I have felt for a very long time that Western “United” Dairymen is not very united. Their directors should have been formally informed by their CEO of this protest and they should have tried to have been there even if they did not want to make a statement. As for the co-ops they say they have to keep an even balance between the processor and farmer. Their absence shows me who they really stand for, and it wasn’t for us. Upon this paragraph I feel that this quote I found this morning is most appropriate:
“I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.”
― William Lloyd Garrison
We know that yesterdays rally was not going to bring immediate change. We know that it is just the start. What I do know is that we stood together, bonded, sharing our fears for our future, and felt strength within our numbers. We stood together in pride of what we do and in our faith of God to give us continued strength.
We are meeting again next week to decide on out next step. So stay tuned…We have only just begun!