After a month of intense worry among dozens of dairy farmers, we are thankful and relieved that their milk is being picked up today. Fortunately, most of the farmers who faced a sudden loss of a buyer — including 23 members of the Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative — have at least temporarily secured a market.
Many dairy organizations, individuals and state agriculture officials aggressively worked together and with the farmers to help resolve the immediate crisis. The resiliency of our farmers, the response from processors and cooperatives, and the resolve of the greater dairy community was on full display.
For that we can be proud.
Now, although we have paused to catch our breath, we must not settle back and simply hope for the best going forward. It is critical we maintain an intense focus and pursue solutions that will prevent similar emergencies from happening again.
It is important to emphasize that some of the agreements farmers have made are short-term, so not everyone is out of the woods.
In the broader scope, many factors are at play, from in-state processing capacity to international trade policies. All of them need careful examination, creative thinking and collaborative involvement.
Make no mistake, our organizations are fully committed to these efforts. We will work with other state and national dairy groups, processors, private-sector interests and state officials, and will further engage our federal lawmakers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
We also want to be clear that the dairy community remains strong. Our farmers and processors are more effective than ever at producing safe, nutritious and wholesome dairy foods in an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable way.