Supply management: Yes or no?

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Supply management: Yes or no?

Date: 
Thu, 01/21/2010

We're interested in your thoughts on supply management. Your answer may depend on what we mean by supply management. For the purposes of this discussion, let's just say that supply management is some form of production control, either government-run or government-authorized (so everyone participates) whereby dairy operations pay an assessment and, in return, are given financial incentives to either reduce milk production relative to some historical level or slow its rate of growth. The average price received would be higher than it would have been, including the assessment.

We realize most organizations and individuals, for that matter, either are for or against supply management. With that in mind, the Idaho Dairymen's Association took an interesting approach to the issue. In the organization's December newsletter, IDA indicates that it supports industry-controlled and voluntary supply management programs. However, IDA "will oppose all government-mandated supply management programs that HAVE NOT RECEIVED SUPPORT FROM A SUPER MAJORITY (66 percent) VOTE BY INDIVIDUAL PRODUCERS." Instead of being categorically against mandatory supply management, IDA is saying we have our concerns, but let the (super) majority rule.

Of course, this begs the question, What would the majority rule? It might be as difficult to conduct a referendum on supply management as it would be to get people to agree on what type of supply management we should have. So, maybe, the Idahoans are safe in their seemingly open-minded position.

Nevertheless, we welcome your thoughts on supply management as ground work begins on the 2011/2012 Farm Bill.

Specifically, we first want to know whether you are an owner of a dairy operation. Then we want to know whether you personally think supply management would be good for U.S. dairy farmers. Then, we we want to know whether you think a majority of dairy farmers would vote for supply management if given a choice as individuals (without bloc voting).

Finally, you're welcome to make any related comments in the comment box.
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