|Kristie Docheff & Roni Sylvester July 2017|
Kristie Docheff spoke up!
I've known Kristie and her husband Jim, for 20 years. More importantly then being great Ag producers and Aggie (They're avid C.S.U. supporters!), they've done a terrific job raising 3 truly capable children!
We're grateful for Kristie's damn good answer!
Roni Bell Sylvester
A DAIRY FARMER
By Kristie Dixon Docheff
We, as agricultural, see our country very different than most.
We are stewards of this great land that some feel belongs to the Native Americans.
We nurture it, we tend to our soils, we preserve our water.
Daily, we make sure it is here for the next generation, who will also bring the best product possible to our consumers.
We are 4th generation dairy farmers. Our son returned as the 5th generation and his children will be the 6th.
The dairy industry has seen 4 years of very low - below break even - milk prices.
Our industry is really struggling. They send out suicide hot line numbers with our milk checks now. Back east I hear there are about 2 suicides a week.
There are only 40,000 dairy farmers in the US...so far too high of a percentage.
Three years of milk price was in Obama’s era...so can’t wholly blame Trump.
What Trump is trying to do with NAFTA is make it fair for us.
We have a 270% tariff on any dairy products going to Canada...but Canada dumps all their Class 7 skim milk on us tariff free. They are gluttoning our market with a product we can’t use; so it costs us as it displaces US produced milk.
The government in Canada subsidizes their price to keep it high by buying its milk and then dumping it on the US market.
We live in a country that loves high fat products. So the skim is useless to us - but we still have to take it. Very unfair part of the NAFTA agreement.
I know a lot of the dairy industry groups are concerned about Trump’s actions of pulling out of the NAFTA agreement...But we need to give it a chance to play out because obviously, at four years below break even, the way it was is not working for industry either.
Our industry’s profitability relies heavily on exports - primarily to China and the European Union as well as Mexico.
While everyone believes the system wasn’t broken and President Trump is breaking it...4 consecutive years below break even leads me to believe maybe it was/is slightly broken and we need to give this new business approach a shot.
I’m so sorry to hear about suicides, but our industry has a lot of its own issues that President Trump has nothing to do with. Like the fact there is no control over the ramped growth in dairy expansions and new dairies.
While the Colorado market, through Dairy Farmers of America, has put a moratorium on any new dairies coming in and shipping to the co-op until 2025, many other markets across the country have done nothing to control their milk production.
So while it may be easy and fashionable for one to blame all their problems on President Trump, we need to look at our own industry and correct our issues right here in America.
Every time production control management is brought up, everybody seems to go bat shit crazy over the thought of it.
Bet you didn’t expect such a long answer (or maybe you did since you know me and my passion for our industry) but this is my 2 cent answer.
It is all OK in our world because what we do best is feed the world.
We may not travel it...but we will damn sure feed it.
Thank you for asking.