Land O' Lakes CEO Beth Ford has recently acknowledged in a "60 Minutes" interview that many of her co-op member owners are at risk of losing their farms.
Ford admits: "I think there used to be 92,000 dairy producers in the country and now the last — the number I saw was in the 50,000 level, so 40% reduction."
Ford blames recent weather and tariffs for the damage to her co-op members.
Ford, like all co-op management, should look in the mirror and to the management of her own co-op as the reason for the loss in her dairy farmer members.
Land O' Lakes is a dairy farmer member-owned co-op with a reported 1,851 member dairy farmers who generated 13,000 billion pounds of milk in 2018.
Dairy Farmers Of America (DFA) is the largest dairy farmer member owned co-op in the U.S. which grew milk production by 2.5 billion pounds while losing 532 member dairy farms, all in 2018. (Hoard's Dairyman, Oct. 10 issue)
All in the dairy industry, including co-op management, make more money the more milk that is made — except the dairy farmer milk maker, who loses money the more milk that is made in excess of profitable demand for the milk.
Existing co-op management have dairy farmer members competing with each other to make the maximum quantity of the lowest cost milk possible, yielding a member milk price less than most members' cost to make the milk.
Existing U.S. dairy farmers need to change their existing co-op management personnel and/or policies and adopt the National Dairy Producers Organization's co-op management policies, which precludes the use of non-member milk and imported dairy ingredients and requires all co-op members to share in a pro-rata, across-the-board, proportional milk reduction as required to continuously balance their co-op's milk intake with profitable demand for member milk yielding a profitable milk price from the marketplace for most co-op dairy farmer members and thereby preserve as many co-op members and U.S. family dairy farmers as possible.
If dairy farmers properly manage the milk they make and their co-ops, and comply with basic, universal supply/demand marketplace economics, most U.S. existing family dairy farms can receive a profitable milk price from the marketplace and survive.