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Dairy Line – December 10th, 2014

NDPO: The Producers Voice
Interview with Robin Berg.



Bill Baker…Profitability for sustainability. I’m Bill Baker and this is dairy line on Dairy business radio. That’s what one former dairy producer says is needed to get our milk pricing in order. Robin Berg from Wisconsin also a member of the national dairy producers organization.

Robin…Dairy producers this is a business and if your not going to treat it like a business you’ve got a problem and were doing an end product pricing structure. Milk is a 24 hour a day job. If your producing it you’ve got a perishable product, you refrigerate it, the cow keeps producing you gotta move it from the farm to the processor you’ve got to move it through the processing system into storage and then on to the consumer it’s a never ending chain so its an economy so the more milk you produce the more their going to increase their economy and if your not going to pull back on your domestic production or increase domestic consumption to meet it with end product pricing what is the producer going to get for price. The producer is going to have to take a really serious look at 2015 because even though the so called dairy experts that have been saying that 2015 wont be as good as 2014 but it still will be OK well I’ve seen it today on the block market Bill.

Bill…Getting back to responsible milk production in America, Robin, what’s the answer to that issue especially when we want to increase milk consumption

Robin…We have to have both, we have to do a better job of telling the American people what is in the product that their consuming, where it came from, country of origin. If the nations government won’t do it then you do it as a commodity industry. You can go out and tell the consumer where the product has come from. They want to know, people what to buy locally; they want to buy from this country because they know the conditions they are produced under. And on the other side just because you can produce more milk, Bill, that doesn’t mean that two percent three percent more production is going to bring you two or three percent more profit. If the price is going to decline by 30 percent you’ve lost your profit, your working for somebody else.

Bill…you mentioned country of origin labeling. National Diary Productions Organization tried to do something about that, it sounds like with 100 percent USA trade mark, How’s that going? Maybe you could just explain to us what that is all about.

Robin…Well, just what it says. Everything that’s in that product you’re buying, The dairy product is all produced in this country. If your happening to be buying chocolate milk, well we don’t produce chocolate in this country but all the milk that went in to making that chocolate milk was made in this country so you know the origin that way if you’re concerned about caseins, caseinnets things like that that are being imported and you don’t want them because they’re being imported because they’re cheaper they are going to be even cheaper with the change in the dollar and you don’t want them, the product your buying isn’t carrying the label, then you know wait the competitor here’s product is carrying the label. The consumer gets to make the choice
The feeling is you educate the consumer let the consumer make the choice. Put all your cards on the table and tell them what’s in your product.

Bill…we were talking earlier about the prices toping out for dairy producers and were heading back down. It sounds like 2015 could be a pretty big year for the National Dairy Producers Organizations when we’re talking about some of these issues

Robin…At least bring the light and bring people connected together to move and see what needs to be done as an industry and work together. I mean the consumers there, I mean we keep losing food consumption, the consumers there. When people will drink, I’ll just call it vegetable based products called milk which aren’t milk and will pay greater prices for them, which has less nutrients or nutritional benefits then we have a job to do to the consumer to tell them the benefits and the economics of real milk that comes from a cow but support of National Dairy Producer and our 100 percent USA logo which will have revenue to help do those kinds of things. You’ve got to have money to move something forward. It just doesn’t happen by itself

Bill…Robin Berg is a retired Wisconsin dairy producer and member of the National Dairy Producer Organization