I’m not sure what your rationale is for feeling that we should also be open market, but I can tell you why supply management is working just fine for us:
- As a cattle farmer, you’re well aware of the boom and bust cycles. I’m sure you know people that haven’t fared so well during a bust cycle. They are still hard working farmers, but when prices get so extremely low, no one wins. Supply management helps reduce that volatility. Of course, you still need strong management on your farm, but SM offers stability so our farmers can plan long term and innovate new technologies because they can predict what they will earn in years to come. We also see a lot of young farmers in our business because sons and daughters see this as a viable business and often don’t have to work off the farm to pay the bills.
- The Americans work in an open-market system. You should ask how the 75 Wisconsin dairy farmers who just received notice from their processor that their milk will not be picked up are feeling about it. They received 2 months notice. 75 farms likely as passionate as you are will potentially disappear in a snap.
- Does a real an open market exist? As a beef farmer, you know all too well about the impacts of the American imposed COOL legislation and the millions of dollars spent by the Canadian industry challenging that legislation.
- Let’s talk cost. Looking back at non-supply managed dairy industries, they are subsidized to the tune of millions of dollars every year. Canadian dairy farmers aren’t. In those countries everyone pays for dairy… even vegans and PETA big shots. Furthermore, if you have a look at the prices of milk, they are comparable. It’s through pooling that enables dairy farmers to overcome low waves.
- And lastly, I know what you’re going to say: quota is so darn expensive. Well, dairy farmers set that price in Alberta through a quota exchange. That’s right not government/Alberta Milk price setting. They see the value in all the points above and they are the ones that set that price. So maybe we’re not all
“socialist”, rather a system where farmers get a fair return for their hard work and don’t have to worry as much about losing their entire business when the markets shifts by working together. What a concept.
The entire cattle industry needs to work together to help those that consume our products to continue to have trust in what we do. Arguing about these things will get agriculture nowhere. We need to focus on the fact that there are hundreds of families in Alberta that work hard to produce food for Albertans and the rest of the country. So let’s just agree that your system works for you, and ours works for us, and connect on something else we can agree on.