The other, other cliff: With no farm bill, milk prices set to soar

posted at 2:01 pm on December 28, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

A few weeks back, Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack lamented the declining influence of rural America and the agricultural lobby’s inability to push next year’s farm bill through Congress. What he conspicuously failed to mention, of course, is that the farm bill and the USDA’s many decades-old agricultural programs in general (numbering in the hundreds and ranging from direct cash payouts to trade barriers) primarily benefit large agribusinesses and hardly ever the small, struggling family farms they claim they are trying to “protect.” In reality, all of these subsidies only help special niche interests, distort free-market signals, provide rent-seeking channels to industries that neither need nor merit it, create virtual taxpayer-sponsored rackets, and come at the cost of a net drain on our economy.

The dairy industry is just one example of the utter convolution perpetuated by the federal government deigning to award market-distorting special treatment, on behalf of what they deem to be ‘fairness’ and at taxpayers’ expense. Sorry to throw another “cliff” metaphor at you, but this is happening:

Distracted by dealing with the Bush tax cuts, lawmakers are running out of time to pass the latest version of the country’s sweeping farm bill and avoid what’s become known as the “dairy cliff.” If Congress misses the Jan. 1 deadline, the price of milk could rise significantly — some say by more than $3 a gallon — as the country’s farm policy reverts back to laws dating from 1949. …

At the heart of the trouble is an old provision designed to create a floor for how much dairy farmers are paid for milk — a kind of minimum wage. The formula for calculating that price, however, is based on assumptions that are a century old, predating the improvements in dairy farming. That old formula, if not replaced by a new farm bill, would push prices higher.

How much higher is difficult to determine because of the complexity of milk pricing. There are middlemen who help determine the price of the supermarket gallon, including processors and companies such as Dean Foods that market dairy products to consumers.

Hmm — perhaps it would have been better if the federal government had never made it their personal business to spend our resources coddling their politically-preferred industries in the first place, no?

I think I’m with Krauthammer on this one; maybe it would be better for us to go over the “dairy cliff.” Few things could as immediately and effectively drive home the costs of federal encumbrance like a sudden spike in the price of that previously innocuous half-gallon. Maybe Americans need to be hit where it hurts before they’ll finally stop supporting backwards and interfering policies like the ones sustained by the USDA. Everybody wants to eliminate expensive subsidies, just not their subsidies:

I do think if we went over the milk cliff it would actually be a good idea. [If] people actually saw the milk price double, it would be less abstract than watching a debt clock. They would finally understand that we have the insane laws, that acquire barnacles over the decades. And the farm laws are the worst. They are all kind of pressure, special interest favors, pay offs which make no economic sense. I’d like to wipe them out and start all over again, and it would be good if the law expired. People would actually be awakened to how insane our system is and how much we really need tax reform. It wouldn’t be an abstraction, it would be real.


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sounds like the granola bars the wife eats!

Tim_CA on December 28, 2012 at 3:05 PM

I’m not going anywhere near what you just implied about your wife…..

dentarthurdent on December 28, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Attrocious-puninities compleximus. ?That ought to be worth several fed grants… ;)

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Could work.
I’ve already been told I talk too much as well, so I joined a self help group for that – Onandon andon.
(works better verbal than written)

dentarthurdent on December 28, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Attrocious-puninities compleximus. ?That ought to be worth several fed grants… ;)

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:06 PM

OK…now all we need is a vapid-celebrity-spokesperson willing to cry on cue, and a 30 second public service spot (or an NPR interview)….and we’re golden.

Tim_CA on December 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

This entire govt is beyond insane! Laugh or cry. Thanks for making me laugh HA!

txhsmom on December 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

dentarthurdent on December 28, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Exactly.

Lightswitch on December 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

If the price of milk necessarily skyrockets I sincerely doubt the general public will attribute that to ludicrous government interference.

The NYT will connect the dots for them.

High milk prices will be explained by:

Global Warming + Suburbs + Racism + the NRA + Homophobia + Slavery + White baby assassins + Rush Limbaugh + Bushmaster.

CorporatePiggy on December 28, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Let them soar.

The best thing for America is to let the pain hit, NOW.

cane_loader on December 28, 2012 at 3:11 PM

OK…now all we need is a vapid-celebrity-spokesperson willing to cry on cue, and a 30 second public service spot (or an NPR interview)….and we’re golden.

Tim_CA on December 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

John Boehner comes to mind…..

dentarthurdent on December 28, 2012 at 3:11 PM

I feel like getting elected to Congress.

Go to Washington and break heads until we get some resolution.

cane_loader on December 28, 2012 at 3:12 PM

dentarthurdent on December 28, 2012 at 3:07 PM

lol.

ssshhhhh….mother-in-law still here for Christmas.

Tim_CA on December 28, 2012 at 3:12 PM

I’m not going anywhere near what you just implied about your wife…..

dentarthurdent on December 28, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Lol…yeah, but it really does sound like a recipe for granola bars.

Lightswitch on December 28, 2012 at 3:12 PM

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:00 PM

sounds like the granola bars the wife eats!

Tim_CA on December 28, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Pretty damned close, and man can you make a LOT of beer from 50 pound’s of barley… o_O (it’s like a 4 to 1 ratio, 4 pounds of barley for every gallon of beer, a 50 pound bag produces about 20 gallons)

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM

I like these cliffs. Are there more?!

EddieC on December 28, 2012 at 2:11 PM

It’s Looney Toons. We’re Wile E. Coyote. Bammer is Road Runner.

We’ll go over the cliff while Bammer skits away unscathed.

I bet he even beeps annoyingly.

LetsBfrank on December 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM

John Boehner comes to mind…..

dentarthurdent on December 28, 2012 at 3:11 PM

The timing could be perfect.

He’s gonna (hopefully) have a lot of spare time soon.

People…we have a plan.

(being a taker is so much easier than being a maker)

Tim_CA on December 28, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Pretty damned close, and man can you make a LOT of beer from 50 pound’s of barley… o_O (it’s like a 4 to 1 ratio, 4 pounds of barley for every gallon of beer, a 50 pound bag produces about 20 gallons)

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM

So basically, good for a decent weekend…..

dentarthurdent on December 28, 2012 at 3:15 PM

that, among numerous other unrelated bureaucratic bumblings, will create a Strategic Moo Juice Reserve (SMJR) to counter severe supply interruptions.

ShainS on December 28, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Don’t laugh too hard – Canada has a Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve. If a year doesn’t produce enough maple syrup, then they dip into their strategic reserve. Yes, there is a Canadian Maple Syrup cartel. We are doomed.

GWB on December 28, 2012 at 3:15 PM

EddieC on December 28, 2012 at 2:11 PM

It’s Looney Toons. We’re Wile E. Coyote. Bammer is Road Runner.

We’ll go over the cliff while Bammer skits away unscathed.

I bet he even beeps annoyingly.

LetsBfrank on December 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Dic-tasters and wannbe Dic-tasters like Obama have a nasty habit of coming to very unpleasant ends.

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Everybody wants to eliminate expensive subsidies, just not their subsidies

Excellent Erika!..Therein lies the problem..:)

Dire Straits on December 28, 2012 at 3:18 PM

People would actually be awakened to how insane our system is and how much we really need tax reform.

No they wouldn’t.

They’d blame cows, dairy farmers and the grocery store before they blamed their benevolent overlords in Washington. And the MSM would lead the way.

BacaDog on December 28, 2012 at 3:19 PM

If milk prices necessarily skyrocket so will…
cheese, yogurt, milk chocolate, mac n cheese, and ice cream. If corn prices skyrocket, OMG! Corn is in everything from gas to high fructose corn syrup. It’s not going to be pretty.

txhsmom on December 28, 2012 at 3:20 PM

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM

So basically, good for a decent weekend…..

dentarthurdent on December 28, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Well, yea, if your decent weekend includes 10 of your closest friends. While I am quite fond of my beer, drinking an entire keg over the weekend by myself is a tad bit more than I can handle.

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Don’t laugh too hard – Canada has a Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve. If a year doesn’t produce enough maple syrup, then they dip into their strategic reserve. Yes, there is a Canadian Maple Syrup cartel. We are doomed.

GWB on December 28, 2012 at 3:15 PM

I bet the debate over whether to dip into the maple syrup reserve includes much waffling.

Nick_Angel on December 28, 2012 at 3:22 PM

This thread has been a lot of fun to end the week, but time to pack up and head out.
My background check finally came through (it took a week this time because of the flood of gun buyers), so I need to go pick up my new M-4 and pump 12 gauge.
Maybe I’ll catch back up on this thread in a few hours….
Thanks all for the laughs.

dentarthurdent on December 28, 2012 at 3:23 PM

GWB on December 28, 2012 at 3:15 PM

I bet the debate over whether to dip into the maple syrup reserve includes much waffling.

Nick_Angel on December 28, 2012 at 3:22 PM

And much flip flopping… ;p

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:23 PM

This thread has been a lot of fun to end the week, but time to pack up and head out.
My background check finally came through (it took a week this time because of the flood of gun buyers), so I need to go pick up my new M-4 and pump 12 gauge.
Maybe I’ll catch back up on this thread in a few hours….
Thanks all for the laughs.

dentarthurdent on December 28, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Enjoy your handheld freedom :-)

Hope you have some place to check them out to make sure they work!

cane_loader on December 28, 2012 at 3:24 PM

When I was young the government brought milk cheese and other farm goods to keep the prices up so that farmers would continue to produce these products instead of something more lucrative.
Has I kid I knew this was a wrong policy but how did we get from this to a point where the government is keeping prices down by half with subsidies?

Gwillie on December 28, 2012 at 3:25 PM

If Boehner were smart which he is not. He would make this part of the deal. Simply repeal the law that will cause the price spike instead of passing another law to cover up the bad law. While this seems like a small thing it would be a major development in Washington. It would represent a sea change. Who knows the American public might get used to Congress getting rid of laws that don’t work instead of a constant cancer like growth if laws and regulations.

Boehner could probably sneak it in. What will pass in Washington is at best an extension to prevent a sell off on Monday while both sides jockey for pork and assorted BS to lard the bill up with…

*And Boehner still has done nothing about the school voucher program in DC…

Theworldisnotenough on December 28, 2012 at 3:26 PM

oldleprechaun on December 28, 2012 at 2:32 PM

I do remember that. Yeah, I’m an oldie, too.

Mirimichi on December 28, 2012 at 3:27 PM

I bet the debate over whether to dip into the maple syrup reserve includes much waffling.

Nick_Angel on December 28, 2012 at 3:22 PM

And much flip flopping… ;p

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Government officials probably feel battered, but they have to iron out their differences and preserve these important breakfast items.

Nick_Angel on December 28, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Some of these are terrible.

Axe on December 28, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Yeah…milk duds.

lynncgb on December 28, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Why do democrats hate children so much?

CurtZHP on December 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM

*And Boehner still has done nothing about the school voucher program in DC…
Theworldisnotenough on December 28, 2012 at 3:26 PM

I’m pretty sure the R’s passed it again. It’s the Senate that has done jack and squat.

txhsmom on December 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Yeah…milk duds.

lynncgb on December 28, 2012 at 3:29 PM

That one got me.

Nick_Angel on December 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM

I bet the debate over whether to dip into the maple syrup reserve includes much waffling.

Nick_Angel on December 28, 2012 at 3:22 PM

And much flip flopping… ;p

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Government officials probably feel battered, but they have to iron out their differences and preserve these important breakfast items.

Nick_Angel on December 28, 2012 at 3:27 PM

They butter not fail to pork up the supply of tasty breakfast vittles or the public might sour on them and instigate a political crepe…

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:33 PM

I’d like to wipe them out and start all over again, and it would be good if the law expired. People would actually be awakened to how insane our system is and how much we really need tax reform. It wouldn’t be an abstraction, it would be real.

this is incorrect – people would instead panic and demand that “something be done” and some new program would be created that would likely be even worse than the current program, because politicians, regardless of party, simply can’t allow consequences or risks to be felt by anyone at any time if they can pass some kind of gov’t program to be seen “doing something”.

Not saying we shouldn’t go over the “dairy cliff”, just saying that I doubt Will’s analysis of what would result is correct.

Monkeytoe on December 28, 2012 at 3:33 PM

[If] people actually saw the milk price double, it would be less abstract than watching a debt clock. They would finally understand that we have the insane laws, that acquire barnacles over the decades.

A big “if”, since the MSM will either (a) never cover the real reasons (“too complex for the little people”) or (b) blame it on Republicans and/or the Kochs. They’ll report that small family farms are suffering and the Obamaphone lady’s 9 kids are becoming malnourished. No laws or subsidies will change because the ensuing fake outrage will prove the “people” demand status quo.

KS Rex on December 28, 2012 at 3:34 PM

We don’t use many milk products, nothing I can’t live without anyway. I’m sick and tired of subsidizing the moochers. Need milk for your babies? Get a goat.

txhsmom on December 28, 2012 at 3:36 PM

As someone who lives close to Eau Claire, WI, and thus subjected to less-subsidized milk, I say, “Bring it on!”

Steve Eggleston on December 28, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Re:Ag subsidies – true story and told this before. A few years ago I was doing some drilling on about 750 acres just east of Houston near Baytown. An older fellow showed up and followed me around watching what I was doing. He asked what I was drilling for and I gave him a vague answer. He then told me he used to lease the property and farm it. Said it was now owned by a Saudi that told him he made more money from the USDA paying him NOT to farm than the farmer paid to lease it. I believe he told me it was $1,300/acre/year or season.

DanMan on December 28, 2012 at 3:38 PM

They butter not fail to pork up the supply of tasty breakfast vittles or the public might sour on them and instigate a political crepe…

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:33 PM

The French toast that sort of thing.

LetsBfrank on December 28, 2012 at 3:44 PM

may lead to cereal killings

DanMan on December 28, 2012 at 3:45 PM

may lead to cereal killings

DanMan on December 28, 2012 at 3:45 PM

That’s Life.

Nick_Angel on December 28, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Leggo my Eego.

(BHO)

cane_loader on December 28, 2012 at 3:48 PM

DanMan on December 28, 2012 at 3:38 PM

That is correct. Farmers are being paid NOT to produce any crops.

Mirimichi on December 28, 2012 at 3:49 PM

If milk prices are going to shoot up to $8/gal so be it. It means now we are paying $4/gal in subsidies and $4/gal at the store. Who do you think pays for these subsidies??? Maybe the 47% that don’t pay a dime to run the federal government can get some skin in the game finally.

Let It Burn!!!

trs on December 28, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Let it burn.

I hope that prices go crazy in 2013.

I hope that the economy craters.

I hope that the American finaliy falls into a state of fiscal emergency, across the board.

I hope these things in the name of saving the country.

Of waking up the slumbering, selfish electorate.

Let America starve….. this year.

cane_loader on December 28, 2012 at 3:51 PM

How unusual … a liberl politician (FDR) uses goverment to make sure that little children have milk available every day at modest prices while he plays doctor with his secrtary. The same thing happened to Cliton(troopers) and Gore (massaues). Maybe if they would just do the right thing in thier life they would understand how law abiding citizen dont need goverment to control prices. Obama and his healthcare mandates will also fall to earth in flames.
FDR – the progressive that showed all the others how to screw things up.

nicknack60 on December 28, 2012 at 3:52 PM

I hope that the American finaliy falls into a state of fiscal emergency, across the board.

Family.

Autocorrect _ typo.

American family needs to go hungry this year.

For the good of the nation.

May 2013 be remembered as a very hungry, bad year, by the selfish jerks who elected BH0.

cane_loader on December 28, 2012 at 3:53 PM

As someone who lives close to Eau Claire, WI, and thus subjected to less-subsidized milk, I say, “Bring it on!”

Steve Eggleston on December 28, 2012 at 3:38 PM

I knew I liked you. I grew up about 40 miles from Eau Claire.

Fallon on December 28, 2012 at 3:55 PM

I hope the Chinese cut us off this year.

I hope inflation goes to 12%, along with interest rates.

I hope lots of Democrats lose their houses due to job cuts from 0bamacare.

In short, I wish ill on America for the short term, to chasten her, so as to make possible a long-term recovery.

LET. IT. BURN.

cane_loader on December 28, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Only a few here have it correct.

If milk prices double THE VAST MAJORITY (see Nov. 6, 2012) will be SCREAMING for the government to bring prices back down.

This will PROVE to them that government INTERVENTION is a GOOD THING.

First it will be milk, followed by much more intervention than ever before.

Guarantee: This will not turn out well.

Carnac on December 28, 2012 at 3:59 PM

farm policy reverts back to laws dating from 1949.

Why didn’t they repeal the old laws when they wrote the new ones?

agmartin on December 28, 2012 at 4:00 PM

LET. IT. BURN.

cane_loader on December 28, 2012 at 3:56 PM

I agree. My “friends” need to be punished.

Fallon on December 28, 2012 at 4:00 PM

I bet the debate over whether to dip into the maple syrup reserve includes much waffling.

Nick_Angel on December 28, 2012 at 3:22 PM

And much flip flopping… ;p

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Government officials probably feel battered, but they have to iron out their differences and preserve these important breakfast items.

Nick_Angel on December 28, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Definitely a sticky situation.

davidk on December 28, 2012 at 4:00 PM

The levels of cognitive dissonance required to honestly think that causing the price of milk to skyrocket, as well as all te other thousands of food products that require it, is gonna result in the public suddenly have an epiphany that the subsidies and bills that made it affordable for them are destroying us is astounding.

Erika, this is not the first time you’ve been out on a limb like this either.

More likely, the public will become angry at those who caused the prices to rise by playing brinksmanship with every single bill. Even a farm bill that makes dairy products affordable for the average family.

But go on, stick it to them guys. You show ‘em. Be brave enough to make sure your fingerprints and faces are all over the action though since you’re so gung ho about it.

Wouldn’t want any one else to unduly be credited with your success, right?

Genuine on December 28, 2012 at 4:04 PM

oldleprechaun on December 28, 2012 at 2:32 PM

I was just a little too young to notice, but my Mom told me it loooked like a block of lard. Then you mixed it with bright yellow food coloring.
I won’t have anything but the real deal in the house. Ever. It was my first marital fight. Had to tell the Nice Old Man that if I found it in the fridge again I would divorce him.

katy the mean old lady on December 28, 2012 at 4:06 PM

I think I’m with Krauthammer on this one; maybe it would be better for us to go over the “dairy cliff.”

No, Piggy’s right when he says this:

High milk prices will be explained by:

Global Warming + Suburbs + Racism + the NRA + Homophobia + Slavery + White baby assassins + Rush Limbaugh + Bushmaster.

CorporatePiggy on December 28, 2012 at 3:11 PM

High prices on merchandise mean little or nothing to the majority of our citizens (cf. high gasoline costs these days). They’re supposed to be a warning that something is out of balance, but liberals are too clever to possess common sense and the rest of the population too dumbed down and/or greedy.

Burke on December 28, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Stop all subsidies, especially Pell grants and college loans.

huckleberryfriend on December 28, 2012 at 4:08 PM

DanMan,

The program you’re referring to is the CRP program. I acquired some land several years ago from an estate that was enrolled in the CRP program. In a nutshell, the government pays (rents from) the land owner a fixed price per year on 10-year contracts.

My land goes for $70/acre per year and I cannot produce anything other than grass hay on half of the acreage. I petitioned the FDA to get released from the CRP contract and they refused. The government would rather pay me over $5K per year to do nothing instead of letting me put the land back into production, makiing $25K a year in income on grain production and therefore paying the government $8-10K in income tax.

The government is refusing $13,000-$15,000 in net tax revenue each year from ONE taxpayer.

JetBlast on December 28, 2012 at 4:11 PM

wait are you saying min wages artifically keeps prices low? which means the liberals really want to keep the people poor

unseen on December 28, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Be brave enough to make sure your fingerprints and faces are all over the action though since you’re so gung ho about it.

Wouldn’t want any one else to unduly be credited with your success, right?

Genuine on December 28, 2012 at 4:04 PM

You want our faces on milk cartons? LOL How about you just publish all of our names and addresses? Heaven forbid that we would like America to return to some sort of fiscal sanity even if it leaves us presently a little bruised and beaten? America will be better for our grandchildren if we are “brave enough.”

Fallon on December 28, 2012 at 4:14 PM

The worst thing that could happen is for there to be a deal now.

Let it burn. I’ll pay market prices for agricultural goods.

Over50 on December 28, 2012 at 4:15 PM

this is nothing but hidden price controls.

unseen on December 28, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Cows are terrible milk producers! I say bison, goats, walruses, and whales make much tastier milk!

There is zero taste in cow milk. They do make good cheese, however.

antisense on December 28, 2012 at 4:21 PM

In 2011:

A trade group representing milk processors debuted an ad campaign Tuesday to eliminate New Deal-era federal price controls on unprocessed milk. The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) complains that the current price support system for dairy farmers dates back to 1937. Its ads call for “Big Government to get out of your milk.”

“The minimum pricing system was developed to address the problems of the past and is now an unnecessary regulatory burden on the dairy industry that limits industry growth,” said association president Connie Tipton. ”It causes consumers, mostly families with children, to pay more for milk and, not surprisingly, consumption of milk has been declining for many years.”

The campaign launched Tuesday with ads in Capitol Hill newspapers, a 30-second television spot in Washington, D.C., and a web video.

Under current law, milk processors must pay a federally mandated minimum price for unprocessed milk. The price is set by a U.S. Department of Agriculture formula and varies according to where the milk is processed and what kind of end-product it will eventually become. Processors pay different prices for raw milk depending on whether it becomes fluid milk; ice creams and yogurts; cheeses; and butter and powdered milk…

Fallon on December 28, 2012 at 4:25 PM

hey here is an idea. Why don’t we allow the law of supply and demand to set the price. I think i heard somewhere it tends to work out well in the end.

unseen on December 28, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Black market milk.

Imagine that.

madmonkphotog on December 28, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Burn the cow… end ALL subsidies NOW!!

Khun Joe on December 28, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Black Brown market milk.

Imagine that.

madmonkphotog on December 28, 2012 at 4:30 PM

FIFY ;)

GWB on December 28, 2012 at 4:40 PM

People would actually be awakened to how insane our system is and how much we really need tax reform. It wouldn’t be an abstraction, it would be real.

That’s nice, only it will be too late. The regime isn’t going to give us tax reform, Charles. They will use the crisis to their maximum benefit.

We need to come to terms with the severity of 2012′s loss. The suffering is going to get real, and hurt middle-income folks the worst. For most, insurance premiums will double. Your power bill may double as well. Anticipate shortages of basic household items, and a much higher grocery bill.

Use this time to save as much as you can, and do whatever you can to reduce your monthly expenses. My grandparents survived the Great Depression, and I plan on surviving whatever this is.

stefanite on December 28, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Burn the cow…

Khun Joe on December 28, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Porterhouse Please!

(medium – with a side of baked potato.)

Tim_CA on December 28, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Hobby Lobby isn’t a place I normally frequent, but surely they have something I could use: http://www.newser.com/article/da3ee7s01/attorney-hobby-lobby-to-defy-morning-after-pill-insurance-requirement-while-lawsuits-pending.html

davidk on December 28, 2012 at 4:47 PM

that, among numerous other unrelated bureaucratic bumblings, will create a Strategic Moo Juice Reserve (SMJR) to counter severe supply interruptions.

ShainS on December 28, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Don’t laugh too hard – Canada has a Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve. If a year doesn’t produce enough maple syrup, then they dip into their strategic reserve. Yes, there is a Canadian Maple Syrup cartel. We are doomed.

GWB on December 28, 2012 at 3:15 PM

And earlier this week there was a story about it!

OTTAWA — It was an inside job of sorts. Thieves with access to a warehouse and a careful plan loaded up trucks and, over time, made off with $18 million of a valuable commodity.

The question is what was more unusual: that the commodity in question was maple syrup, or that it came from something called the global strategic maple syrup reserve, run by what amounts to a Canadian cartel.

On Tuesday, the police in Quebec arrested three men in connection with the theft from the warehouse, which is southwest of Quebec City. The authorities are searching for five others suspected of being involved, and law enforcement agencies in other parts of Canada and the United States are trying to recover some of the stolen syrup.

Both the size and the international scope of the theft underscore Quebec’s outsize position in the maple syrup industry.

-snip-

The spring of 2011 produced so much maple syrup that the federation added a third rented warehouse, in an industrial park alongside a busy highway in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, to accommodate the overflow. The surplus was pasteurized and packed into 16,000 drums, each holding 54 gallons, and left to rest except for inspections twice a year.

Lt. Guy Lapointe of the Sûreté du Québec, the police force that led the investigation, said that the thieves rented another portion of the warehouse for an unrelated business. That enabled them to drive large trucks into the building.

“They were basically inside guys,” Lieutenant Lapointe said. “The leader wasn’t with the federation, but he had access to the warehouse that would not attract any suspicion.”

When no one else was around, Lieutenant Lapointe said, the thieves gradually began emptying syrup barrels. Some Quebec news reports indicated that they also filled some barrels with water to disguise the theft.

Rest of story…

Del Dolemonte on December 28, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Del Dolemonte on December 28, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Yep!

GWB on December 28, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Anyone ever use dehydrated milk? I’m just curious if it’s worth stocking up on some.

stefanite on December 28, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Let all prices soar! It’s time for the morons of this country to pay for their stupidity along with the rest of us unfortunately.

cajunpatriot on December 28, 2012 at 5:13 PM

You want our faces on milk cartons? LOL How about you just publish all of our names and addresses? Heaven forbid that we would like America to return to some sort of fiscal sanity even if it leaves us presently a little bruised and beaten? America will be better for our grandchildren if we are “brave enough.”

Fallon on December 28, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Ignore him, he is a Genuine Douchebag of the lowest order.

SWalker on December 28, 2012 at 5:19 PM

This thread is so battered with puns my head is scrambled and my brain is toast.

filetandrelease on December 28, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Don’t bother funding it… any of the USDA… that’s, what, $155 billion? Great! Start bringing that deficit down!

This land-based organization has grown too many tentacles. Time to starve the beast and sell off its carcass.

ajacksonian on December 28, 2012 at 5:34 PM

My neighbor can barely afford the feed for his dairy herd he gets paid so little for milk.
But we don’t need cow’s milk anyway. We can all drink soy milk. I’m sure Mrs. Obama would approve of that. We don’t need cream, sour cream, ice cream, cottage cheese, cheese or yogurt.
We don’t need beef. The obamas need that extra special wagyu $100 a pound elitist beef.

vityas on December 28, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Why are you all such haters?
Why do you hate the cheelren?

/progs

bofh on December 28, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Let all subsidies end–we pay for it one way or another–right now it’s in the form of taxes. It’s about time we bite the bullet and let the free-markets reign.

cpasherry on December 28, 2012 at 6:02 PM

But go on, stick it to them guys. You show ‘em. Be brave enough to make sure your fingerprints and faces are all over the action though since you’re so gung ho about it.

Wouldn’t want any one else to unduly be credited with your success, right?

Genuine on December 28, 2012 at 4:04 PM

I may be wrong, but I think this fellow is saying people are too dumb to even *get* what caused the price to go up. They are too stupid to understand cause and effect. Based on 2012, I am inclined to agree.

However, LIB because I think the pain is just what Herr Doctor ordered!

antisense on December 28, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Pfft. I have dairy goats. Best milk in the world. Make my own cream, ice cream, sour cream, cheese, soap, etc. While everyone else out there is whining, I’ll be clean and dining.

BierManVA on December 28, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Don’t bother funding it… any of the USDA… that’s, what, $155 billion? Great! Start bringing that deficit down!

This land-based organization has grown too many tentacles. Time to starve the beast and sell off its carcass.

ajacksonian on December 28, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Then waht about food safety? Yeah, I work in meat manufacturing, and though our plant is very clean and good, many are borderline… you do without USDA, your will NOT want to eat ANYTHING from the store.

watertown on December 28, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Hmm — perhaps it would have been better if the federal government had never made it their personal business to spend our resources coddling their politically-preferred industries in the first place, no?

Ed, I used to milk cows for a living. That program was not there to protect farmers, it was there to make sure there was a ready supply of fluid milk and to make sure it was safe to drink…in other words it was not there for producers, but for consumers. There was a time when milk was contaminated with stuff like TB and so they began testing it..there was a time when there were shortages in supply and so the government created a program that necessitates a surplus. In fact, farmers used to dump milk to drive up prices…you know..supply and demand, but no more. In fact when I milked I did not know what I would get for a tank of milk until I got the milk check. There was no negotiation for prices and that program is there for every farmer who sells Grade A milk, whether he is small or large. Farmers were docked for the price of administrating the program as well as for the surplus..the money came out of my milk check just like taxes come out of payroll.

I am not saying that we do not need to look again at these programs, but as a person who spent years working 7 days a week to milk cows I resent remarks about how this is all for the farmer…no it is not..it is for the consumer. I do think they need to finish the farm bill..I have no idea why they would revert to the 1949 standards…after all it has not been that long since the last farm bill. It is silly.

Terrye on December 28, 2012 at 6:33 PM

This is all stupid politics. The reason support prices revert to the levels of the Agriculture Act of 1949 is someone included that in the last farm bill as a poison pill — force Congress to act before the bill expires.

The pricing is based off of the “parity price”, based on the era between 1910 and 1914. Parity reflects the purchasing power of a commodity in 1910-14 — such as one hundred pounds (cwt) of milk. The parity price for November 2012 milk was $52.10/cwt; corn was $12/bu. The Act sets the support price at 75% of parity, so for November that would have been $39.08/cwt for milk and $9/bu for corn. That’s about $2 over the market for corn and about twice the value of milk.

That should just go to show how efficient dairies have become at producing milk.

Aside from all that, manufacturers have to jump through so many hoops to sell to the government historically it was almost not worth it. In addition, because of the way milk is priced it’s doubtful consumers or producers would see much in the way of price increases. The formulas used to compute farm price, and the price at which manufacturers and retailers must purchase the raw milk don’t include product sold to the government. Unless futures go crazy, this whole thing is a huge negative to an already-reeling industry.

TL:DR = this whole thing is a huge pile of bull.

Tio on December 28, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Then waht about food safety? Yeah, I work in meat manufacturing, and though our plant is very clean and good, many are borderline… you do without USDA, your will NOT want to eat ANYTHING from the store.

watertown on December 28, 2012 at 6:29 PM

THIS. There are so many things before removing the USDA. As an easy comparison the EPA ‘protects’ jack squat…while the USDA protects a hell of a lot.

Upton Sinclair’s work is unfairly ragged on by certain hardcore elements of the right because he was supposedly trying to promote socialism. But his book was dead-on accurate in showing that self-regulation of food safety was not working at all. We do not, I repeat, we DO NOT want to go back to those days.

MelonCollie on December 28, 2012 at 6:59 PM

I am currently operating a mid sized dairy farm.My feed costs soared thanks at least in part to this stupid ethanol boondoggle that is being forced on us by the our friendly government and it nearly put me out of business.The little bit of sudsidy money I get pales in comparison to what other forms of goverment intrusion into my business and the commodity markets cost me.

eze breeze on December 28, 2012 at 7:20 PM

High milk prices will be explained by:

Global Warming + Suburbs + Racism + the NRA + Homophobia + Slavery + White baby assassins + Rush Limbaugh + Bushmaster.

CorporatePiggy on December 28, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Yep. Roll back the subsidies and let the market self-correct. When milk is at $8/gal, dairymen will produce more milk and the price will go down. Problem solved.

petefrt on December 28, 2012 at 7:55 PM

MelonCollie on December 28, 2012 at 6:59 PM

I am telling you with the most senserity that with out the USDA millions would get sick in one shot and very fast. In our plant we use a ton of chicken (mechanically separated I might add… dont ask lol )… we are not the only one in the country that of course uses stuff like this. All it would take is one time for something to not get done to regulations and BAM… break out of an illness. Heck, all it takes is one piece of machinery for that to happen.

watertown on December 28, 2012 at 8:05 PM

petefrt on December 28, 2012 at 7:55 PM

/s

petefrt on December 28, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Erika, if I may: you should have explained this price quandary a little better. A quick read of the comments show that even Hot Air readership–normally well-informed–has this situation kind of backwards. The price won’t go up because some subsidy program is about to die; the price may go up because a government “subsidy” (initially put in place two generations ago to ensure a market for dairy farmers when free-market forces may not have guaranteed such a thing) may actually come back in effect. Conservatives should be pointing to this issue as an episode that screams out for less government intrusion in our economy–there is hay to be made there, I would think.

This episode also screams out for us “better, not bigger” government types. The “permanent law” should have been permanently amended sometime in the last 60-plus years to do away with the old formula for government purchase of dairy products, rather than these ridiculous 5-year fixes that supposedly “force” Congressional action. Perhaps a lesson in here for tax rates, too?

Why aren’t some of our midwestern/dairy country GOP folks in front of cameras talking about this? This is a train that is about to leave the station and I haven’t heard word one from any “leader” about this huge hit on our wallets.

johnny alpha on December 28, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Then waht about food safety? Yeah, I work in meat manufacturing, and though our plant is very clean and good, many are borderline… you do without USDA, your will NOT want to eat ANYTHING from the store.

watertown on December 28, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Really?

Is the USDA the ONLY way to go?

How about underwriting? Underwriters Labs is run by the industry involved and is independent… can’t do it that way? WHY NOT? Don’t YOU trust UL?

Do you really need the entire USDA when the PA Dept. of Agriculture has rules that are followed by so many companies that it isn’t funny. And that the PA Dept. of Agriculture has overseas operations as well. See that PA Dept. of Agriculture stamp on various food items? Ever wonder about it?

And the food and drug purity act: does it really need the entirety of the USDA to enforce it? Can’t a private method be found to do this without the USDA? Like UL does for its industry?

If the marketplace is so good at figuring things out, then why do we trust the USDA for these things? Is it the ONLY standards body to work on food safety? Care to take a look at your food packaging and see if there are any OTHER food safety organizations involved?

Or do you place blind faith and trust in ANYTHING the government does?

ajacksonian on December 28, 2012 at 8:38 PM

BTW, Dairy farmers have no choice but to be in this program if they want to sell Grade A milk.

Terrye on December 28, 2012 at 9:01 PM

well stated, johnny alpha

eze breeze on December 28, 2012 at 9:03 PM

With no farm bill, milk prices set to soar

…guess I will have to rely solely on breast milk…again!

KOOLAID2 on December 28, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Just got 5 boxes of Parmalat and a box of dried milk

Sekhmet on December 28, 2012 at 9:36 PM

The People will not see the counter-balance if prices increase on any item.

It’ll take more than power-mongering moronic Republicans and anti-American Democrats to inform the public, to overwrite the idiocy that is taught, and imbecility that is contagious.

John Kettlewell on December 28, 2012 at 9:55 PM

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