A catchy phrase that has been circulated at the start of this New Year is "looking forward to more in 2004." As your president, a few of the things we as DPNM could look forward to might include greater participation of our states milk supply as members, (by the way, DFA has initiated discussions with us on this); continued talks with EPA on how we might establish a certified self inspection procedure; and that we might maintain our good relationships with our government representatives on the local, state and federal levels. All indications in the periodicals would point to a much better year with regard to the price we receive for our milk. I think most importantly for our organization as we move into 2004 is to remember as someone said, "the best way to predict your future is to create it."
On March 11-12, we will again be hosting a forum in Washington, D.C., and we want to invite all of our members. Last year we had tremendous producer participation from around the country and the preliminary response indicates that will continue again with this forum. I look forward to the discussions realizing that as times have been tough, DPNM seems to find ourselves pitted against many of our allies on various issues. I know even amongst ourselves we have differences of opinion, but I do like what D.L. Moody said, "the best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it but to lay a straight stick along side it." This is what is so great about the format of the D.C. meeting, all ideas get out, side by side on an equal basis and it is left to each individual to determine which stick they feel is straight.
I apologize for mentioning my family, but many of you have asked how Tayley and Kelsi are doing. Tayley has been given the green light and played in her first basketball game after almost sixteen months of no activity and three practices on January 6. Kelsi and Nancy were able to return home before Christmas allowing us to all spend the holiday together. She has started back to school and is doing remarkably well but still tires easily. Again thank you to all who have kept my family in your thoughts and prayers during this long process.