Summer has arrived and what a difference a year can make. As I look back, one year ago I was writing about low milk prices, CWT and the effort we all had to make to keep our spirits up. Well, milk prices are pushing record levels, and CWT (although still somewhat debated) has been extended another year. It requires a lot less effort to keep my spirits positive than it did a year ago.
Those who read this letter regularly know how fond I am of quotes. I came across this quote that intrigued me. We all know about Watergate and how it impacted politics in this country, but I don’t know how many of us realize that dairy was a part of the infamous Watergate tapes. On March 23, 1971, then Secretary of the Treasury, John Connally was recorded speaking to President Richard Nixon. In that recording he said, “These dairymen are organized; they’re adamant; they’re militant…and they’re massing an enormous amount of money that they’re going to put into political activities, very frankly.”
This stirs me in a few ways. One is, can this be said about us, are we organized so both our political friends and foes know we exist? The second is, although we have continued debate over whether we as a state organization should be involved in national politics, thirty-three years ago someone within our industry felt it very important. I realize we have our co-ops who represent us in D.C., but I don’t know if I am always so comfortable with leaving the outcome of issues that will affect the 170 plus or minus producers within our state to the 30,000 plus or minus that aren’t affected. The last way this stirs me is that although those in opposition to us have no hesitation in contributing to their causes, we as an industry have at times shrunk away from the fight. Environmental and animal rights groups are, to restate the quote, “massing an enormous amount of money that they are putting into political and legal activity.” Much of the activity is designed to split us as an industry into individuals and the response that is so often heard is, “they brought it on themselves.” Maybe they did but it doesn’t really matter to our opponents, for it only provides them opportunity to set precedent.
I hope you all can look forward to a happy and healthy summer with your families. I want to close with these two quotes.
“Life is never as sweet as butter unless you milk it for all it’s worth.”
“Sacred cows make the best hamburgers.”