State's Dairy Problem: Too Many Cows, Farms

Full story: Hartford Courant

They say sacred cows make the best hamburger, so here goes: To save Connecticut's dairy industry, we need to slaughter cattle instead of subsidizing farmers.
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1 - 20 of 31 Comments Last updated May 2, 2009
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NBConservative

Plainville, CT

#1 Mar 22, 2009
Fergus, I understand what you're saying, and I agree except for one thing: first, we need to get the federal government out of the business of subsidizing large midwestern farms and regulating the price of a gallon of milk. Then CT farmers could be much more competitive. I'd much rather have my milk coming from CT (or even somewhere else in New England) than from the midwest. In this case, fresher definitely is infinitely better, and consumers should have a choice if they want to pay higher prices for local products.
Lyle Edwards

South Dartmouth, MA

#2 Mar 22, 2009
Fergus Cullen is woefully un informed if he thinks there is a free market in the dairy industry, where there's only a couple of players that determine the milk price at the CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange). The problem is a corrupt milk pricing system that allows the milk price paid to the farmer, to be $5 below what dairy farmers were paid for milk in 1980. Does that make sense to anyone? What are consumers paying for milk today vs. what consumers paid for milk in 1980? Consumers have not benefited from this failed milk pricing system we have today. I agree with Cullen that the federal government should not subsidies milk prices. But what we really have, is government subsidizing processors, by paying farmers what processors should be paying.
What we really need

Hartford, CT

#3 Mar 22, 2009
I think we need more cows and less Fergus Cullens.
Musket

Middleburgh, NY

#4 Mar 22, 2009
Clearly this writer has NO understanding of the industry, and in typical Courant fashion no in depth study was done.

There is no reason to keep dairy farms?

Attention Courant editors: your paper is gasping in its death, this is not the way to revive it.
gbc

Wallingford, CT

#5 Mar 22, 2009
Don’t Have a Cow Man
Those sacred cows, and the farmers that own them are taxpaying citizens of Connecticut unlike Mr. Cullen. His own personal web page shows that he is a resident of New Hampshire. As the former chairman of the Republican Party in the Granite State, as recently as March 6, 2009 he was considering a run for elected office in New Hampshire. Mr. Cullen is not listed as an employee of the Yankee Institute on their website. So we have a New Hampshire resident who may or may not work in Connecticut giving us advice on what is best for our citizens. Udderly ridiculous!

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the geographically challenged Mr. Cullen has confused his legal residency . In 2002 he ran for state senate in New Hampshire and was removed from the ballot two weeks before the election when he was prosecuted for an election law violation, he was a resident of CT running for office in New Hampshire.

Hey Fergus moo-ve to Connecticut before you lecture us how to regulate our citizens.
Joel Gordes

West Hartford, CT

#6 Mar 22, 2009
Dear All,

Whenever an extremely narrow view based solely on ideology like Cullen's is put forth it ignores a lot of other factors. In this case it is the future ability of Connecticut to supply a certain amount of its own food. Local supply is a food security issue, not just an economic issue.

In 1979 the Courant had a editorial expounding upon the lack of the US having sufficient energy sources but extolling our superiority in food production. That, too, was narrow but not ideologically driven. My published repsonse to them, shortened here, was:

"The naivete which was so well displayed in your Aug. 16 editorial, "Breadbasket of the World," is repre-sentative of a common inability to view the world as a whole. It's easier to fragmentize it into nice, neat, separate areas.

Our breadbasket is so overly dependent on the energy used in it that I consider agriculture as one of our most serious energy problems.
Does The Courant not remember the talk of "distillate wars" between the farmers and truck drivers just a few months ago? What did you think that meant?

Preservation of farmlands in our own state is an energy issue and yet the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee of the General Assembly only gave it $2 million in bonding. Temporary low food costs are just like temporarily low fuel costs. They all have a way of catching up with us."

While Cullen would dispute my basis on this under the same ideological, know-all attitude, the fact remains that any energy emergency might not only raise prices as I previously predicted but, more seriously, outright disrupt the transport of food from outside the state and could have security implications for which we are currently unprepared.

Joel N. Gordes
From Kirby

Glastonbury, CT

#7 Mar 22, 2009
Typical kneejerk response..."kill off the cows".

These large dairy farms out in the midwest also have a problem called "mastitous" (sp) that results in sores and lesions in cow udders. This is one reason why dairy cows are being shot up with large quantities of antibioltics, but the truly alarming result is that there is small amounts of pus (yes pus) that is in milk produced on these giant dairy farms.

If Connecticut consumers made a point to buy milk produced on Connecticut dairy farms there wouldn't be too many cows for poor Mr. Fergus.

Unlike Fergie, I will continue to support Connecticut farms (and our local economy) by buying their products
From Kirby

Glastonbury, CT

#8 Mar 22, 2009
Fergus decries bail-outs for our local farmers while multi-billion dollar companies are allowed to feed at the tax-payer trough. Go figure.
Joe Mingo

Fremont, CA

#9 Mar 22, 2009
Their is a way to beat price controls on milk the Farmers Cow in Eastern Ct. is Doing it. Sell you milk directly to the consumer.
GEE

Stevenson, CT

#10 Mar 23, 2009
Where is the public's concern about the # of cows that will be needed to be killed to get the milk market straightened out? The # of cow killings being talked about range from 600,000 to a million. The dairy cows did nothing wrong to be treated this way, and Ct dairy cow farmers really do not want to have to go this route, they work too hard to give their cows the best care, but my be forced into this if substities are not given. By being against substities to dairy farms during hard economic times were the dairy cow farmer is losing large amounts of money to provide a local healthy milk supply for CT people, makes Fergus Cullen a dairy cow killer.
Middlemen Suk

United States

#11 Mar 23, 2009
If there's too many cows, why is milk so expensive?
GEE

Stevenson, CT

#12 Mar 23, 2009
The stores that sale the milk to the public, and have the least investment of cost to produce the milk are allowed to mark up the milk prices. The dairy cow farmer who has the most expenses to produce the milk gets the least amount of money back do to the federal milk pricing laws. When it cost the Dairy cow farmer around $25.00/Cwt to produce the milk and the federal orders allow the milk processers to pay the minimium price/cwt to the dairy farmer. The milk price/cwt is around $11.32/cwt. The Dairy farmer who has the most cost of producing the milk is expected by our goverment to take huge money losses. That does not make any sense, but that is what is happening. Even the milk processers have the dairy cow farmers paying for the cost of making cheese so that the milk processers can make a profit. The system is broken and our goverment will not fix the broken system, and the farmers have been trying so hard to get our federal goverment to correct the milk pricing system, but the farmers have been ignored.
Donald

United States

#13 Mar 24, 2009
It will be a fine day when your milk is headed to your local store in the form of milk powder. Yummy, not to mention it may be coming from a third world country with no ban on medications, hormones, or maybe tainted with melamine. Keep up the good work and put your local dairy farmer out of business.
amanda

Arlington, VA

#14 Mar 27, 2009
you obviously never worked on a dairy farm
Jersey Girl

Enfield, CT

#15 Mar 30, 2009
Unfortunate ideology. You assume a free market in the dairy industry. You assume farmers have control over the price of their milk. You assume milk and bananas are the same product. Unfortunate.
Rachael

United States

#16 Mar 30, 2009
Joe Mingo wrote:
Their is a way to beat price controls on milk the Farmers Cow in Eastern Ct. is Doing it. Sell you milk directly to the consumer.
The only problem with that is they are trying to take that away from us too.

In regards to the article, we should have as much food produced locally as possible. Why don't we just buy our milk from China then. It would be cheaper. Oh and it would also free up all those pesky farms for more commercial developments.
We should know who produces the food we put in our mouths. We should have faith in them and trust them. Look what happens when we turn things over to big businesses. They outsource to other countries and produce the products with what amounts to posion in some cases because it's cheaper.
As farmers, we NEED the tax exemptions in order to survive. I wouldn't be able to manage without the tax exemption. I pay taxes on all non farm related items too, so it's not as if my family is getting a free ride on it like some people think.
Final point: We should support our ability to produce our own food rather than relying on other places to do it for us.(Do you know there is less than a 3 day supply of food in new england at any given moment?) That means supporting our local farmers any wya we can.
Brent

United States

#18 Apr 7, 2009
I have a free market Idea, lets make the school systems private and allow companies to compete to provide the best education for the students at the lowest price. I bet that would save the tax payers money. Maybe we should allow people to import education from other areas at a lower cost. I wonder if it would be possible to use immigrant labor to produce education in California. Maybe we could make education cheeper by adding melanine to it. What if we moved our schools to Mexico, maybe that would help. But I guess we are only free market people when it is convienient.
Joel N Gordes

West Hartford, CT

#19 Apr 7, 2009
Rachael wrote:
<quoted text>
(Do you know there is less than a 3 day supply of food in new england at any given moment?) That means supporting our local farmers any wya we can.
Yup, exactly why I previously said it is a security issue. Conservatives can even appreciate that. Nothing is more conservative than to conserve. That includes farmland--and farmers.
NBConservative

Plainville, CT

#20 Apr 8, 2009
Joel N Gordes wrote:
<quoted text>
Yup, exactly why I previously said it is a security issue. Conservatives can even appreciate that. Nothing is more conservative than to conserve. That includes farmland--and farmers.
Let's stop subsidizing the huge agribusinesses in the Midwest and West. Then maybe family farms in New England would have a fighting chance.

Since: Sep 08

Joliet, Illinois

#21 Apr 8, 2009
NBConservative is the definition of thw word oxymoron.

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