my view

It’s now or never

By ROBIN FITCH
Posted 8/12/20

My husband Dave and I have been farming for 40 years. We originally farmed in Sullivan County, NY and then, as our son had decided to come into the business, we decided it was best for our family to …

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my view

It’s now or never

Posted

My husband Dave and I have been farming for 40 years. We originally farmed in Sullivan County, NY and then, as our son had decided to come into the business, we decided it was best for our family to relocate to Herkimer, NY. We, like most farmers, have gone through many challenges in our farming career. Memorial Day a year ago, we were thrown a big blow: One of our main barns and over two-thirds of our equipment were destroyed in a fire. Thankfully, no animals or people were hurt, but we are still dealing with issues over a year later. The low milk prices over the past five years forced on the dairy farmers from the USDA, then the loss and devastation of the fire have really taken a toll on the morale and finances on the farm. Trying to replace equipment and then build a new building has been very challenging. As we see prices skyrocketing for supplies and services that are used on the farm and we see plummeting prices and some of the lowest prices paid to the dairy farmers in years. We realize it is time to research what proposals are being discussed for solving this issue. Once again, we came to the conclusion that we fully support the Progressive Agricultural Organization and support the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act. This proposal would not only give us a supply management program that would be fair to all size farms, but it would also provide the farmer a fair and profitable price for their product without gouging the consumers.

Now, with all the challenges due to coronavirus—farmers having to dump milk, restaurants and some schools being closed—and as the world gets crazier every day, we have to demand our government keep our food supply safe in all areas of our country, not in one or two places. This is our opportunity to come together—farmers, consumers and businesses—and support this proposal. I encourage you all to find out who your senators and congresspeople are, call them and stress to them that we need to, without a doubt, get this bill passed before something else happens in this country and we can’t feed our nation.

I ask this: Do we want our milk supply from one or two areas of this country? Or do we want to join together and demand we get the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act passed and secure safe dairy products in many of our rural towns and across our great country? We have seen how putting your eggs all in one basket can be very devastating; let’s learn from our mistakes and make changes in the right direction.

Robin Fitch and her husband Dave, along with their son Justin, run a small family dairy farm.

Read more perspectives about the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act here.

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