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Women In Dairy Conference – November 7, 2012

Women in Dairy Pennsylvania – Penn State Extension

Last year we had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful group of dairy farmers from Pennsylvania that were visiting California dairy farms. Our dairy was one of their stops. Tony and I shared our dairy and our cheese plant and the debut our chocolate milk. I had the opportunity to speak to them and shared our struggles with the dairy business and operating a dairy products plant.

A couple months later I received an email asking if I would be interested in being the Keynote speaker at their Women in Dairy Conference being held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

I reminded them that I was not a professional speaker. She said that it was the ladies from the tour that suggested me as the speaker. I was flattered and frightened at the same time.

They also asked if I could sit on a panel for blogging. That, I thought, no problem. I feel comfortable with blogging. I admit I do not know a lot of the technical things associated with blogging but I do feel comfortable sharing my message and I realize the importance of getting your story out and not let others speak for you. Especially in the dairy industry.

I agreed to do it. I admit, a bit reluctantly. It seemed so far away. I really didn’t know where I would be with my business. I didn’t know how I was going to manage to get away. I didn’t know how to put together a keynote address. I had seen plenty of wonderful speakers in my day. I was especially moved when I had seen Dr. Scott Vernon from Cal Poly SLO give his keynote address at the California Women in Agriculture convention earlier this year. I was challenged and I like that. I decided to do it!

Months before, and up to just before departure I was agonizing over my decision. One day it was, “how exciting” the next day was “what the heck did I get myself into”. I was worried about letting those ladies down. I knew it was too late to back out now. I dug my heels in and resolved to do my best.

I would hole myself up and write, rewrite, write and write some more. It is very rewarding putting your life on paper. I also created my first power point! Accepting challenges and learning new things, isn’t that what life is about?

Penn State Extension is an outreach program of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. They provide educational programs for dairy producers, their employees, and advisers. (click here to see the great programs that they offer) They do a great job. They are professional and work very hard. It is very clear that they like what they do and they like working with these dairy farmers. I felt their devotion and respect for the dairy farmers that they served.

There is nothing easy about getting to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from Fresno, California. I departed at night on November 5th. I arrived, after a couple of plane changes, in the morning of November 6th. It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful place. I would not let my weary body get me down. I had to go explore. Explore I did. I want to thank Unique Limousine of Harrisburg, PA. I called them at the last minute. They asked what I was interested in seeing. Offered me a very fair price and picked me up right away to escort me on my adventure. I got to visit the Central Market in Lancaster, PA It is the oldest, continuously ran, farmers market in the nation. A perfect stop for me right? I enjoyed introducing myself to the farmers/vendors there and they were kind and warm. I even got a hug from a lovely Mennonite vendor. I was driven through the beautiful countryside enjoying the farms and got a glimpse of Amish life. I drove through Hershey, PA, the “sweetest town in America” and yes the street lights are the shape of Hershey’s kisses. The whole time, as I was enjoying this, I kept telling myself how much Tony would love to see this and vowed to come back and spend more time.

After my full day I got to enjoy dinner with some of the Penn State Extension team. We also went to a pre-conference reception that evening.  It was nice to have this “warm-up” because that moment was here and there was no turning back now.

After a surprisingly good nights sleep, that moment, that I had agonized for so long, was now here. I admit, I was glad that I was up first. When I was done I felt great relief and satisfaction. Mission accomplished! I had wonderful feed back and response and felt embraced. One very nice young lady said that I had “set the tone” for the conference. I was happy that I did not disappoint. These are hard-working dairy women. They are busy working on the farms, milking cows, raising calves and taking care of their families. I wanted it to be worth their time and I didn’t want to disappoint the ladies that suggested me for the job.

I was happy to share my life. I believe they realized, like I did, that even though we might run our dairies differently. We might have more or less cows to take care of. We share to same goals and struggles in our lives. At the end of the day our lives are consumed with the care and well-being of not only our families but our animals.

Sitting on the blogging panel was fun. It is always fun to share the rewards and challenges of blogging. I got to sit on the panel with Raechel Sattazahn. She did a great job sharing her blog, Go Beyond the Barn Blog please check it out. Her husband is a guest writer and they do a wonderful job sharing our agricultural story.  Lisa Perrin from Mid Atlantic Dairy Association did a great job as the panel facilitator.

I got to enjoy the rest of the day mingling, eating good food, and taking in the other breakout sessions. I met too many wonderful people to name individually. I  hope they know how much I appreciated my time with all of them.

During the day I had the opportunity to meet Jessica Armacost. She is the director of the Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Program and Promotion Service . They have a very impressive program. The girls are very active in promoting dairy in their state. She had with her two of her princesses, Callie and Heather. These two lovely princesses gave a beautiful “milk toast” at lunch. They attended the whole conference and were staying on for other appearances.  They were staying the night and asked if I would like to join them for dinner.

What a great evening. She drove us into the town of Harrisburg and indulged me in some picture-taking of this beautiful town. We ate at a local restaurant Appalachian Brewing Company. It was an evening of good food and good company.  I so appreciate their invitation. This was a perfect ending to a wonderful experience.

I want to thank Dr. Lisa Holden, associate professor, Penn State Dairy and Animal Science and Laurie Porter for their efforts in arranging this conference. They make it seem easy. Congratulations to you both and everyone who made this day the success that is was.

I made it back home without delay. I was comforted to know that my cheese/milk and dairy business ran just fine without me. Tara and Tony do a great job and did it all themselves without complaint. It is I, that do not know what I would do without them. Thank you both for “holding down the fort”. I love you both.

Again, Pennsylvania Women in Dairy and Penn State Extension, my deepest gratitude for this opportunity. Until we meet again….

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Hello everyone, I am sorry for my delay in posting from our rally on Oct 18 2012. It had been my hope that some miracle would have happened and we would be onto some concrete level ground and would have a solution. The “Polly Anna” in me was hoping for a “Kumbaya” moment and we would have quick resolve.

On October 18, 2012 we again left from Goshen at about 630 am on a beautiful bus provided by Western Milling and Novus International (allied industry helping us in our plight). I am very grateful for there support and financial aid to provide this transportation. It was a great way to travel, communicate, laugh, share our angst. It was fun. It was nice to not have to fight the traffic and high fuel prices it was also very comfortable and spacious with a wonderful driver. We were in good hands.

We had a wonderful turnout at the rally. About the same numbers as the first rally but this time was many, many different faces.

There were some great speakers that represented dairy families in California. (Click on the link to see)

 Great speakers shared their stories 

Two of my favorite people spoke too, Mary Cameron and Mario Simoes Sr.

They had and open forum in which I went up to share with the group that Secretary Ross had called me the night before. (She wanted to let me and others know that they were getting our phone messages, emails, and faxes). She had mentioned that the task force was meeting and she was hoping to get some immediate relief for dairy producers.  (My words to the rally folks click here)

I felt hopeful that this rally would impact not only the Secretary and the CDFA but also be heard by the processors who have been fighting any change we have requested to be made. They are feeling the impact of less milk, yet they continue to dig in their heels and expect for us to go back to our old ways.

I even sent a letter to one of the task force members, Sue Taylor, from Leprino Foods. You can view this letter on the website Rally For California Families

She did not even have the graciousness to email me back a response. Frustrating to be so ignored while my quality milk arrives to them daily and makes them millions of dollars. I was reaching out and hoping for some unity….yeah right….”Polly Anna” disappointed again.

The task force did meet on Oct 23 and 24th. Below is Western United Dairymen’s well written account of the two days. I could not help but feel that possibly Secretary Karen Ross was, like I, feeling a little “Polly Anna” in thinking that they might be able to agree on something. I am glad she witnessed for herself how stubborn and uncaring the processors are. Like spoiled children, they have been used to getting their way. She saw the dairymen in that meeting standing together, standing as one. She witnessed the line in the sand. She witnessed that the processors do not care about the producers. Their only care is their profits because of cheap milk and it doesn’t matter that it is at the demise of generations of California dairy families.

The processors feathers are so ruffled they have actually lashed out at Milk Producers Council (Letter from DIC to MPC).

They have the nerve to tell us that they are protecting us from ourselves. They act as if we purposely oversupply the milk. They say it’s all our fault. I say to them….take care of yourselves. Buy only the milk you need and pay us a fair price. If we oversupply it then our co-ops with their base limits will handle it with those that are overproduction. How dare they be so arrogant and treat us like naughty children who do not know how to play nice. Shame on them.

The bright spot of these two days was the fact that Secretary Karen Ross stated that she is expecting a petition for a hearing (as she states in the below letter). She promises to handle it expeditiously. As I am writing this I have not had confirmation of that filing but I did receive a phone call from our DFA Western Area Chairman George Mertens, stating that a petition was being drafted (by DFA, CDI, and LOL) adjusting the 4b price to be in alignment with the Federal 3 price. The petition will be filed by Dairy Farmers of America, California Dairies, Inc, and Land O’Lakes. These are our three major co-ops in California and they are joining together.

I am happy to say that I believe this is moving in a positive direction and uniting is what we need as dairy men and cooperatives. This has been our trouble and has been a determent in our industry for too long. Let us just hope that she does handle this quickly and we dairy farmers can be in “sound economic relationship” with the rest of the nation.

Also Western United’s board members directed staff to craft language to make the change and organize bipartisan support in Sacramento for the legislation for our 4b price to be in alignment. So basically if CDFA can’t do it then let legislation step in. Read more here

Time though, is money…so hopefully the quickest solution for us would be when she receives the petition she will act as quick as the law allows and we can see some relief soon…so many of us depend on it.

Group meets to address immediate and long-term challenges facing the state’s dairy industry. State ag secretary is “impressed by the progress made.”

Source: Western United Dairymen Weekly Update

California’s newly formed 28-member Dairy Future Task Force — composed of dairy producers, processors and cooperatives — held its first meeting this week to address immediate and long-term challenges facing the state’s dairy industry.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross announced the panel’s creation earlier this summer, after hearing a petition by producer groups to adjust the state’s whey factor in Class 4b minimum milk pricing formula. The action came in the face of skyrocketing drought-related feed costs, forcing many producers into bankruptcy.


California Dairy Future Task Force members
David Ahlem, Hilmar
Joey Airoso, Tipton
Joe Augusto, Visalia
Tom Barcellos, Tipton
Marcus Benedetti, Petaluma
Ben Curti, Tulare
Rochelle De Groot, Hanford
Joe DeHoog, Ontario
Lucas Deniz, Petaluma
Eric Erba, Visalia
Frank Fereira, Red Bluff
Mike Gallo, Atwater
Dino Giacomazzi, Hanford
Dominic Grossi, Novato
Scott Hofferber, San Bernardino
Dennis Leonardi, Ferndale
Steve Maddox, Riverdale
J.T. Maldonado, Hanford
Tony Mendes, Riverdale
George Mertens, Sonoma
Rick Michel, Waterford
John Oostdam, San Jacinto
Brian Pacheco, Kerman
Ray Souza, Turlock
Sue Taylor, Denver
Arlan Van Leeuwen, Oakdale
Sybrand Vander Dussen, Chino
Simon Vander Woude, Merced


Secretary Ross issued a statement following the task force’s meeting: “The Dairy Future Task Force is made up of dairy producers, processors and cooperatives asked to come together to find common ground upon which they can build a new, more stable and contemporary path for the dairy industry. The first session, held October 23-24, provided an opportunity to agree on a common fact base and develop a sense of what the group wants to accomplish in the coming months. The task force achieved alignment around a shared vision for the future of the California dairy industry, which is a significant accomplishment and a key step toward long-term success. The initial session was designed to set the stage for the group to identify and build strategic pillars that will result in a robust, profitable, demand-driven dairy industry. I was impressed by the progress made and look forward to continuing this important work. I commend the group’s members for embracing their task and the difficult but critical discussions it entails.

“Based on the discussion of concepts for potential short-term solutions, CDFA anticipates receiving a petition shortly and will evaluate it on an expedited basis. I very much look forward to working with the talented and passionate producers and processors who are willing to provide leadership to this very important sector of the agricultural community.”

In a background statement issued by CDFA, the department said the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) will have administrative oversight of the task force. Meetings will not be open to the public to “eliminate public posturing, hyperbole, and positioning for political gain.”

According to the background information, task force members were invited as individuals–not as representatives of associations or other organizations. There will be “significant public vetting of various stages of the task force’s work, which will strive to create consensus around short- and long-term solutions.”

The CDFA noted that several years ago CMAB commissioned a study which provided concepts for long-term sustainability and industry growth for the California dairy industry. That report, by global management consultant McKinsey and Company, is serving as a foundation for discussions on long-term solutions.

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Hello everyone….I can not believe it has been over a month since my last post.

Why is it the things you love the most are the things that get neglected? I think this is the longest I have gone without a post and I have missed it.

Sadly the dairy industry is still suffering here in California only to be made worse by the droughts in the east that have driven up our feed prices while our milk prices have remained low. The future milk prices are improving but for so many it is not going to be enough. We have lost 100′s of dairies with more to go and no one seems to see the crisis in this. Our leaders have been ineffective and we drive through our valley and see generations of dairies empty. It is so very sad. Here is a local article in the Fresno Bee explaining what has been going on and how dairies are on the brink . We continue to pray and work hard to hold on for now. Prayer and hope is all that we have.

As far as Dairy Goddess we are doing OK. Business is steady and growing. With the generosity of so many we have managed to obtain milk crates and refrigerated storage.

Cold Storage

Even more exciting is we have gotten a refrigerated van. It’s very used but seems to be working well and with that we can now deliver milk to our distributor and stores so much easier. Thank you God.

Refrigeration Van

Since my last post I have had some wonderful things happen. My daughter has become engaged to her boyfriend Shane. We love him very much and could not be more excited. They are a wonderful couple and he comes from a great family. I am even more excited to think that I am a step closer to becoming a Grandma some day…LOL…no pressure kids!

Along with all of this A.J. made his departure to Grenada for Vet school. We are so happy for him and his decision to follow his dream of becoming a Veterinarian but we miss him so much on the farm. I also miss him coming in the morning and asking me for something to eat. We are so proud of him. It was big decision and it is very far away. He is loving the experience so far very much. Check out how beautiful St. George’s University is.

We just had the one year anniversary of my Mother’s passing (8/28) There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of her. I sure wish she was here to see Tara become engaged and A.J. heading off to University. I know she is with us in spirit, but I just would love to hear her laugh and sing again.

Sadly, this week we have had  the passing of my Uncle Carl. He was 93 and had a wonderful life. I feel blessed that he was in ours. He in now in peace and I know my mother was there waiting for him.

This is life…joy among sadness. So I must tell myself to take the time to enjoy every moment of those joys and savor them.

I want to take this time to extend my gratitude to the many people who support us and what we do. You make everything worth while. YOU are the blessings I am so very grateful for. God bless each and everyone of you. Please continue your prayers for us!

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Back in BusinessWell, it seems like when all I crave is peace and a life filled without drama I get thrown something unexpected.

Last Friday, June 29th we received a call from the CDFA regarding a “positive” on a random test done on a sample of our chocolate milk. It was due to an improper pasteurization. We are meticulous regarding our procedure we realized we had an immediate problem. We retraced our steps and due to a hose holding a bit of milk from our transfer from making regular to chocolate. This small amount did not get pasteurized upsetting the whole batch.

There is silver lining to this, first off, YOUR FOOD SAFETY. I, of course wish it wasn’t on my test :). You though, as a consumer should know that your food is tested constantly and I know I am grateful for that. Secondly, as we were only in our trial period and we were able to fix this problem before it actually hit the stores and a larger reach. Third, NO ILLNESSES occurred.

My immediate fear was for my customers. Not only for their well being, but also their trust in Dairy Goddess and our products.

I did not sleep thinking about what will happen next. What is going to happen in dealing with the state and what will my customers think. How will they react?

My sleeplessness replayed over and over again watching the demise of my business. Why is it always that it always feels worse in the middle of the night???

Monday came and our first test was good yet I knew that it was going to be made public. Announced for the nation to see, fear of the unknown. What’s going to happen next?

We work as usual. Confident that our issue was resolved. We make or cheese, our milk and our chocolate milk. On Tuesday we took our final sample in to test. Mind you, this is the day before the 4th of July holiday. My hats off to the CDFA staff and Sierra Dairy Labs for helping us to get this cleared and a verbal OK so that we can sell on Thursday as scheduled with out missing a beat.

The news hit! Friends rallied around. I received words of encouragement. People said “hang in there”, “you’ll be OK”. My favorite, “you’ve got lemons make lemonade”. On Facebook were posts like “we can’t wait to get more of that chocolate milk”.

I was OK…

On the 4th of July my phone rings. A major distributor is interested in my products.  They want to meet. (I did disclose that I just had got off recall the day before. He chuckled and said that “it happens, good to work out the quirks”).

What a difference a day makes! I prayed a word of thanks to God. (See the Hanford Sentinel’s story)

It hits me, I am still in business. I need more space to grow. I need refrigeration at my plant.  I need a refrigeration van to transport. Business is good but it is capital that I need. I know that it nearly impossible as the dairy industry is still struggling to get back on track.

I got an idea…a fundraiser, HELP DAIRY GODDESS SOAR Crazy I know, but there is so much I need. I need milk crates. I need more bottles, labels, supplies, space etc, etc, etc.

So I put myself out there…reaching out. I have already received such generous response. I am a blessed women. If you would like to help check out my “GoFundMe” button. I know these times are difficult for so many people. The main thing I ask is for your prayers. God hears our prayers.

“Pray, hope and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer” – Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. These are the words that comfort me. I hope they comfort you too!

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We are nearly at the last day of June is Dairy Month. I could not go the whole month with out posting about my favorite month of the year.

Mind you, I have been ‘celebrating’ in high style. We have been busying ourselves with our cheese and our new non-homogenized / lightly pasteurized whole chocolate and regular milk.

We have started three new farmers markets in West Hollywood also in Mar Vista and North Hollywood. We have felt very welcome down south.

Here is some of the press that we have received. ABC Channel 30 LA and the LA Times .

Also this month was our first cheese delivery to Lassen’s Natural Foods and Vitamins. We are in 8 of there stores. Dairy Goddess is urging you to support our new customers.

In honor of dairy month I hope you take a moment to reflect on what the real reason is for this special month. Dairy Council has done a great job sharing the Secrets, Stories and Facts of America’s Favorite Natural Beverage. Please take a moment and enjoy these milk facts .

Well now off to July and guess what? Yep, it’s Ice Cream Month So keep the celebration and enjoy plenty of dairy products.

Party till the cows come home!

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Hello Everyone! I have missed you! Yep, it’s true. Blogging is my joy. It would be something that I would love to do at least once a week.

I am so sad that  haven’t had much time to keep up on it, but I have been productive.

I am happy to announce our newest product (drumroll please……)

CREAM TOP! What’s that you ask? It is a Non-Homogenized/Lightly Pasteurized

Whole Milk! We make it Chocolate and Natural.  It’s the way milk should be! Whole , Fresh, Delicious, and Safe.

Did you know that the only difference between Non-Fat milk and Whole is 31/2% fat. Not the bad fat…but the good stuff. Brain food. This is going back to the way we should be eating. For our health, not for what “fads” are saying.

For young people as well as mature folks, dairy is  great for your body. bones, brain, hair, nails…  Beauty inside and out!

We are introducing it at farmers markets…come by for a taste! You won’t believe how good it is!

Take a look at my new labels! I think they are beautiful. Don’t forget to look for and ask for “Dairy Goddess Cream Top Milk”

DG_Cream-top_64ozLabel_Frnt_HRDG_Cream-top_32ozLabel_FRNT_HR

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It’s been a week now since the discovery of the cow with BSE (Mad Cow). I went of to my farmers market last week prepared for questions and concerns. To my surprise, only two people spoke of it and they were from the Valley and asked if many had asked about the finding.

I look at this as food safety testing is working. I am comforted that they found it. I just want to reiterate a few points as I am still  seeing some negative articles out there. I think most of those negatives are written by those with another agenda.

I consider us so very blessed to have safe, affordable food.

The cow was found in a rendering facility in central California. The cow tested positive at a transfer facility in Hanford, 15 miles west of Visalia in Kings County, operated by Baker Commodities.

National Milk Producers Federation offered the following points on the issue:

  • Milk and dairy products do not contain or transmit BSE, and animals do not transmit the disease through cattle-to-human contact. The infectious prions that transmit BSE are found in neurological tissues, such as brains and spinal cords.
  • The United States put regulations in place in 1997 to prohibit ruminant protein from being used in animal feed. This applies to all cattle, dairy and beef alike.
  • Non-ambulatory animals ― those that cannot walk ― are not allowed to be processed at facilities where meat animals are handled. This regulation helps ensure that animals that are unwell are not entered into the food supply.

However, the current case in California may not fit the typical mold.

“Our laboratory confirmed the findings and also indicated it was an atypical form of BSE, which is a rare form of the disease,” said USDA chief veterinarian John Clifford on Tuesday. “It is not likely to be attributable to infected feed, which is the method in which normally BSE is spread from cow to cow,” he said.

“This particular animal did not enter the food supply at any time,” Clifford added.

For more background on BSE and the dairy sector, visit the NMPF website.

The USDA also has a frequently asked questions section on BSE. Click here.

Also Science News has a great article too

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I came across this video this morning and I say AMEN! Finally…it’s said! A voice for us.

I am continually saddened by people who disparage or dismiss the importance of Agriculture. I am saddened by those who are so easily swayed by radical agenda. What saddens me most is that because there are so many removed from Agriculture they just believe the misinformation they are throwing out there.  Earlier this year, an article featured on Yahoo! Education listed three agriculture-degrees in a list naming the top five worthless degrees. Just imagine where we would be without these degrees. These students make it pretty clear!

Farmers Fight is a student-led initiative to reconnect American society to the world of agriculture. Beginning with university students, Farmers Fight encourages consumers to ask where their food comes from, and give students, faculty, public officials, and farmers and ranchers an opportunity to become “agvocates” for the agriculture community. This is a must see!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yFoGib8AfZo

Let’s make this viral….Let’s Stand Up and Fight

Thank you for making this video! Thank you!

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Hello everyone! Sorry I haven’t blogged in a bit but it has been the best kind of hectic. 

As I venture on into my second year running Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese I had set a business goal this year to get into more stores.

That is not an easy feat… but neither was getting into Farmers Markets as I did last year! I love my Farmer’s Markets but I would like to be more available to my customers.

I also have been wanting to expand my product line. I am proud to say that we have purchased a small bottler and plan on having my chocolate milk out very soon.

Also I have been peddling my Milk Bath a luxurious soak in Whole milk, salts and scents. It is amazing for your skin because of milk’s lactic acid. I received my first order for this wonderful product and it is at Old California Lavender in Temecula , California

We are bringing fresh orders of cheese to Whole Foods Fresno , Whole Foods San Ramon, Whole Foods Walnut Creek and coming soon Whole Foods Lafayette

Also happy to announce that we are in New Frontiers, SLO . Also Mesa Produce in Santa Barbara. Let us not forget our 1st store, The Hanford Portuguese Bakery

I am very excited for March 8 2012, The Fresno Food Expo.  This is our first Expo promoting Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese I am excited to speak with buyers and distributors and have them sample our cheese. I am also looking forward to the public tasting and we will be able to sell our cheese there too.

I am looking forward of what is to come. I also know that I could not have gotten this far without the love and support of my family, friends, customers and most of all God. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I will keep you posted :)

You, the Goddess, deserves this bath!

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I received this comment on my blog. I was so moved.

I, too feel that there is no one to help, there is nobody in our court. Our industry is ran like the rest of the country. Big money, and personal interest. Each man for themselves. We try to have voices, but those are only heard when you have lots money and you are able to make yourself heard. I know what it is  to feel like no one is listening. My blog is my little tiny voice. It is all I got!

I appreciate that she shared this story with me. I wanted to share it with you.

Hi dairygoddess…I have a question. The dairies in our area are closing. Our friends are generational dairymen, they have lost their home and had a 3k head of cow dairy, now down to 80 cows. They have 34 people who are invested and stand to lose everything. the feed company has raised feed so high they cannot keep up. NOw they are in negotiations and the feed company are holding them over a barrel. Can nothing be done, are there no gov. bale out of a dairy? they sell their milk to Alta Dena who has been supportive but cannot feed the cows. What can we do, to get oats in those cows to produce? Help if you can. (I kept her name private)

This is sadly a story that is told by many dairy farms. We are too, struggling. These next 90 days are reported to be another terrible period for dairy farms. Not only dairies suffer but the companies that service them. There is NO bail out for us, none at all. We dairy men are controlled by people looking out for themselves.
Processors LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cheap milk. They pit dairy farmer against each other so that we can not create tools to help ourselves. They just know that at some point we will end up making too much milk again and drown ourselves and our industry.

California alone is at a terrible injustice. We receive less than anyone else in the nation. Why? I have asked myself this so many times. We ask for hearings through the California Department of Agriculture, yet they are denied. Don’t they see our dairy farms struggling? Yet the processors complain that they will lose. Processors have a make allowance, an allowance that we pay to help them make a profit.

What about us? We just want to receive enough to just feed our cows. Is that asking too much? Do we not deserve enough to make a profit too? We work and have the risk. We do not have any control of the price we are going to receive. We watch our milk get hauled off (we, the dairy farmer pays for that too). Imagine, we pay for the haul to the processor while they have all of the power to raise/lower prices. Yet, we do not see huge drops in the store for dairy products…hmmm interesting isn’t? The minute the milk price goes up for us you see that in the store real quick.

We do not even know how much we are going to get for that milk that we worked so hard to make until a month later.

They have the power to NOT process if they have too much. Of course they have contracts to take all of our milk. Look, though what happens when there is too much…price drops and we are in the RED yet again. We can not just close our doors when we are not making enough money. We have an obligation to our animals. They must be cared for and fed. They must be milked.

We all must work together. Contact you local officials. Scream and shout and start asking the questions.
Get involved in the co-op and industry groups. WE and us alone have to start speaking for ourselves and working for ourselves and NOT let those with their own interests at heart win.

You asked about bail outs…I don’t think any of us want anything for free. I know, I just want a level playing field. Sadly if we do not get this help the American people can rely on non-local and imported milk because of possible milk shortages if too many dairies can not survive. At best the low prices consumers pay for dairy products will be gone for ever. For many our LUCK would have given out.

Praying for us all. The pressure is enormous. We can go without, sacrifice, but our cows MUST be fed and taken care of. When we lose that availability it is heartbreaking.

God help us all!

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