Survey says: WUD members support supply management butů
Aug. 27, 2010 - - A majority of Western United Dairymen members who
participated in a recent member survey indicated they preferred supply
management for their milk marketing system, but they expressed several caveats
that spelled out the complexity of the ongoing debate. Nearly 200 members
responded to the mail survey conducted for WUD by the marketing research company
A majority of the respondents somewhat or strongly agreed that dairy farmers can control their own milk production and agreed they would be willing to increase or decrease milk production on a quarterly basis in an effort to manage the U.S. milk supply. However, respondents were almost equally divided on whether or not a supply management program should be pursued in the U.S. if it had the unintended consequences of increasing milk production in competing countries. And the majority of respondents had a strong preference against government mandates over the dairy market. A majority of respondents reported they had increased milk production in the last five years and they expected to increase production in the next five.
On the demand side, respondents overwhelmingly viewed generation of both domestic and global demand for dairy products as opportunities that should be pursued. The majority of respondents said that drought in Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), European Union milk production and product inventories, and increased production in other U.S. regions all had an impact on California milk prices. The majority believed the U.S. did not have effective import tariffs in place to protect the U.S. dairy market. Demand enhancement, developed by increasing fluid milk standards nationally, was the policy option with the strongest level of support among respondents. There was also very strong support for reducing the allowable somatic cell count limit.
Survey results will provide a baseline for WUD as it formulates policy positions, explained CEO Michael Marsh. The Dairy Programs Committee will meet on September 3 to begin the development of parameters for a supply management program. That policy discussion will continue September 10 at the next regular WUD board meeting.