Madison - St. Clair Record

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Having a cow when dairy prices rise

Our View

By The Madison County Record | Aug 15, 2019

When dairy prices rise, having a cow is a good thing – for dairy farmers, anyway. Assuming that their costs haven’t risen and offset the added income, they make more money, which is good for them. They can stay in business and keep feeding the American people, many of whom seem to have no idea where milk, cheese, and beef come from.

(Hint: They come from cows. Trust us. It’s true. We looked it up on Wikipedia.)

Everyone wants to get top dollar for the product of their labors, and farmers are no different.

If, on the other hand, you’re a consumer of dairy products, you might feel differently. When dairy prices rise and force you to spend more on milk and cheese or consume less of them, “having a cow” of a different sort might be good for you.

You might want to rant and rave online and write a stern letter to the editor of one of the few remaining daily newspapers in the country, bemoaning the price increase – not out of any crass personal motive, of course, but to demonstrate your sincere, unselfish concern for the less fortunate who can’t survive without $5 pints of gourmet ice cream.

The one thing you probably wouldn’t do is file a lawsuit against dairy farmers.

Nevertheless, that’s exactly what the Vermont-based First Impressions Salon did. It filed an antitrust suit against the National Milk Producers Association in 2013, claiming that the group’s herd retirement program raised milk prices.

Why would that matter to a salon? What do they do with milk and cheese? Couldn’t they misuse other food products instead? We didn’t ask and we don’t want to know.

But here’s the fun part. The tables have been turned on the salon keepers, because their legal team received confidential documents from the association and apparently shared them with an outside party who was not authorized to review them.

Ironically, the plaintiff complaining about the rising cost of milk and cheese is now the one likely to be grilled.

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