Long post, more WI dairy/trail info

Long post, more WI dairy/trail info

Post by tdpe.. » Sun, 15 Dec 1996 04:00:00


This one will only interest those who REALLY care, but here's another
story on the subject:

 Dennis Jelle smells a ***.
      The Mount Horeb farmer's milk checks have dropped so far, so
fast he is convinced there are forces at work besides supply and
demand.
      Jelle's monthly milk checks dropped from $10,000 in early fall
to $8,500 last month. He expects to get $8,000 this month for the
milk made by his 55 cows.
      Tax time is coming, and Jelle, 51, likely will have to borrow to
pay the $6,000 property tax bill for his 237-acre farm near
Madison.
      ``Most dairy farmers are in a state of emergency,'' Jelle said.
``There's no money to buy anything.''
      Like many Wisconsin farmers, Jelle blames the National Cheese
Exchange, a low-volume auction market in Green Bay that meets for
just half an hour on Friday mornings but has a big impact on milk
prices.
      More specifically, he blames Kraft Foods Inc., the nation's
largest buyer of bulk cheese.
      A University of Wisconsin study conducted for the state accused
Kraft of driving down prices by selling cheese on the exchange for
less than it could get on the spot market.
      ``Kraft is gouging the consumer because prices aren't dropping
in the store,'' Jelle said. ``There's no justification for the drop
because there aren't surpluses of milk and cheese.''
      But federal investigators found no proof of the anti-trust
violations alleged in the March study, and Kraft spokesman Michael
Mudd said farmers are holding his company accountable for the
volatility of supply and demand.
      ``They've been brainwashed by a few people who want to point at
a big, bad company and blame us,'' Mudd said.
      Nevertheless, Gov. Tommy Thompson has asked the U.S. Agriculture
Department to stop using the exchange as a factor in milk pricing.
      Thompson contends the exchange handles too little cheese -- less
than 1 percent of the bulk cheese bought and sold in the United
States -- to serve as a reliable factor in calculating milk prices.
      Milk prices paid to farmers have dropped from a high of $15.37
per hundredweight -- about 12 gallons -- in September to $11.61 per
hundredweight at the end of November.
      UW-Madison agricultural economist Edward Jesse said the market
factors behind the price drop date back to last spring.
      Milk prices then rose due to predictions of a poor growing
season for grain and subsequent low milk supplies. Cheese prices
were up due to market speculation and concern there would be a milk
shortage.
      Milk and cheese prices paid to farmers continued rising until
September, when predictions of a record U.S. corn harvest ``burst
the speculative bubble,'' Jesse said.
      That, coupled with ample cheese supplies, cut cheese prices and
buying stopped. Then the cheese exchange's impact on milk prices
kicked in, he said.
      The plunge is a shock to most dairy observers, Jesse said,
adding that milk prices should be much higher, about $13.20 per
hundredweight.
      ``The cause is a matter of a flea on the tail of the dog wagging
the whole dog,'' Jesse said.
      Wisconsin, Idaho and Minnesota dairy farmers were the first
affected by tumbling cheese and milk prices because much of their
milk is used in cheese and butter, said John Rourke of the
agriculture department's marketing service.
      By February, the low prices will hit farmers elsewhere whose
milk is used mainly for drinking, Rourke said.
      Despite economists' arguments of normal market forces, many
farmers see the cheese exchange as the short-term cause of their
troubles and the federal milk pricing formula as the long-range
problem.
      They have protested at the exchange, and about 100 angry farmers
marched into the governor's office last month and demanded the
state push for federal changes in milk pricing.
      Some closed their land to deer hunting -- a sport that is
practically a religion in Wisconsin -- and threatened to shut out
snowmobilers this winter to draw attention to their plight.
      Kraft supports changing the way cheese is priced, Mudd said.
      ``We would much rather have less volatility. We want a balance
between a price that enables farmers to be profitable but also
stimulates consumer demand,'' Mudd said.
      And Jesse and others believe dairy prices have probably bottomed
out and will improve by summer.

Don M.

 
 
 

Long post, more WI dairy/trail info

Post by Jim Rad » Mon, 16 Dec 1996 04:00:00



Quote:
>       Milk prices paid to farmers have dropped from a high of $15.37
> per hundredweight -- about 12 gallons -- in September to $11.61 per
> hundredweight at the end of November.
>       The plunge is a shock to most dairy observers, Jesse said,
> adding that milk prices should be much higher, about $13.20 per
> hundredweight.
>       Some closed their land to deer hunting -- a sport that is
> practically a religion in Wisconsin -- and threatened to shut out
> snowmobilers this winter to draw attention to their plight.
>       Kraft supports changing the way cheese is priced, Mudd said.
>       ``We would much rather have less volatility. We want a balance
> between a price that enables farmers to be profitable but also
> stimulates consumer demand,'' Mudd said.
>       And Jesse and others believe dairy prices have probably bottomed
> out and will improve by summer.

> Don M.

Well I don't think things have bottomed out yet. I just received a call
from a
good friend of mine who is a dairy farmer. He just told me that milk prices
dropped again today from $11.?? to $9.??, roughly $2.00 a hundred!
And that this is the lowest milk price per hundred has been since 1962.
Can anyone confirm this?
If this is true, things will be getting much worse for us recreationist,
hunting
and snowmobiling as this may be the last nail in the coffin that shuts down
a huge chunk of snowmobile trails in the state of WI.

Also, I was told the AWSC(Wisconsin Snowmobile Council) had a emergency
meeting friday morning. Aparently it was decided that if the dairy farmers
close their land to snowmobile trails, the AWSC will shutdown the state
grooming program, for the entire state, even in the northern part of the
state
where most land is State, county and federal land. This is to show support
of the
farmers. Can anyone confirm this one?

Again these are things I have just heard, I hope someone can help clarify
them.

This is starting to make that stud banning issue in MN seem pretty trivial.

Forcast tonight in west central WI is for 6-10 inches of new snow. It's
only good
if you can ride on it.

Jim Rada(depressed in WI)

 
 
 

Long post, more WI dairy/trail info

Post by Mark A Zimmerm » Tue, 17 Dec 1996 04:00:00

    Talked to a couple of AWSC guys Saturday morning while getting
38 young people their "driver's license" and they said nothing about
shutting down grooming in the entire state.  Can't confirm either
report at all....Nope, nope, nope.  And they talked for about 1/2 hour
about this trail closing thing after the training class was over.

Mark Zimmerman
Central Wisconsin

 
 
 

Long post, more WI dairy/trail info

Post by rbar » Thu, 19 Dec 1996 04:00:00


Quote:
>     Talked to a couple of AWSC guys Saturday morning while getting
> 38 young people their "driver's license" and they said nothing about
> shutting down grooming in the entire state.  Can't confirm either
> report at all....Nope, nope, nope.  And they talked for about 1/2 hour
> about this trail closing thing after the training class was over.

> Mark Zimmerman
> Central Wisconsin
> I attended the Wis Govenors Council meeting last Friday. Nothing

   solid about any trail closeings.  Just have to wait and see.
   I don't have any agriculture land in the system in DOuglas
   County so it won't affect us here.  I do hope the matter can
   be resolved