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FAMILY FARMERS DENOUNCE SENATE AG HEARING FOR FAILURE TO ADDRESS REAL CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS TO DAIRY CRISIS
Panel Solely Featured Corporate Ag Apologists and No Family Farmer Viewpoint
Washington D.C. (October 27, 2009) – The National Family Farm Coalition denounced today’s Senate Agriculture Subcommittee’s hearing on the dairy crisis for failing to spotlight the voices of real family dairy farmers and instead relying on the same corporate processors and giant dairy cooperatives who have created the current economic disaster. NFFC was also disheartened that very little mention was made by the Senators regarding the lack of competition in the dairy markets and the Department of Justice’s previous and upcoming investigations into antitrust abuses on the part of dairy cooperatives and processors.

Paul Rozwadowski, NFFC Dairy Subcommittee chairman and a Wisconsin dairy farmer, said, “While today’s hearing did a good job describing the disastrous conditions we are living under with the dairy price collapse, the Committee chose to have as witnesses the same dairy processors and dairy cooperative representatives who continue to push their same failed approaches. Instead of spotlighting our broken dairy markets that have led to highly concentrated markets and a failed pricing system, witnesses chose to focus on Dairy Export Incentive payments, more free trade, Cooperatives Working Together’s “cow retirement” program, and more government purchasing of cheese, none of which has made much of a dent in the crisis.”

Arden Tewksbury, general manager of Progressive Agriculture, said the hearing represented simply business as usual with witnesses ignoring the most important reason behind the dairy crisis: a flawed pricing system easily manipulated by corporate interests. He said, “These presumed experts are called to testify on solutions when they themselves are the problem. We need a new dairy pricing system that takes into account farmers’ cost of production and have a rational supply management system. The only supply management we have now are low prices that drive farmers out of business.” Tewksbury expressed extreme disappointment that NFFC was not called to testify at the hearing. “We are unhappy that S. 1645, the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act, was not offered as a solution to the current crisis. S. 1645 would have a supply management that maintains supply in line with demand and give farmers a fair price while not costing our government a dime.”

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National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), founded in 1986, unites and strengthens the voices and actions of its diverse grassroots members to demand viable livelihoods for family farmers, safe and healthy food for everyone, and economically and environmentally sound rural communities.


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