There are 250,000 cows being milked in Washington state, andDoelman's Dairy was once home to 5,000 of them.
Today, Doelman Dairy Farm is in Chapter 11, having filed for protection because they have accrued $17 million in debt. I spoke with the matriarch of the Doelman family on Friday (June 6, 2003). She is mother to 23 children, three of her own, and twenty adopted-from all over the world. Each family farm that closes is a personal tragedy.
I love the dairy farmers and their values. It is their product that I hate with extreme prejudice. All of their lives, dairy producers have felt good about their work. They one believed that milk from their cows was nature's perfect food for humans. Now, as more and more health conscious consumers wake up to the fact that milk does not do a body any good, more and more fine people like the Doelman family experience the hardship of finding new ways to live.
Doelman Dairy produced over 100 million pounds of milk in 2002, but the price of milk paid to dairy farmers has fallen so dramatically that they lost about 25 cents each time one of their cows filled a quart container. The price dairy farmers now receive for milk has reached a 30-year low. If not for government welfare America's entire dairy industry would be out of business.
Wells Fargo Bank, owed over 7 million dollars, forced Doelman Dairy to sell all of its cows to pay down their debt. With no cows, there is no dairy. Just empty barns.
On Friday, April 4th, USDA announced the March price for Class III milk, and for dairymen, news of the skim has become even more grim. The price dropped 55 cents for $9.11 cents per hundredweight. At that time, the wholesale price for butter was $1.07.9 cents per pound. Today, it's $106.4. In April, the wholesale price for dried whey was 15.8 cents per pound. As of May 31, 2003, dairy processors were receiving 14.2 cents per pound for their whey.
Falling prices result as a factor of falling demand. The dairy industry's response has been to increase inventory, so that surpluses increase.
Thousands of dairy farms have closed this year, and thousands more will close before January 1, 2004. More and more Americans are finding that soymilk tastes better than cow's milk and is healthier, too.
Unlike cow's milk, soymilk contains no saturated animal fat, cholesterol, antibiotics, or pus. No animals have to die in order to produce one quart of soymilk.
A few days ago, I nursed a Chai tea with steamed soymilk at an upscale coffee shop. I love witnessing soy go mainstream.
MAD COW UPDATE
On May 27th, I reported that two young Michigan men had died from Cruetzfeld Jacob Disease (CJD), the human equivalent of Mad Cow Disease.
I also reported rumors that McBain, Michigan was home to at least one quarantined herd. During the past week, I have spoken to a few of McBain's residents, and am now satisfied that there is no truth to the rumor that Mad Cows have been identified on one or more McBain farms. If that was the case, people would be talking about it. I have spoken to dairymen their wives, truck drivers, and farmer's children. However, I did learn that a third young man from Michigan died of the same brain-wasting disease. CJD traditionally kills one out of every one-million Americans over the age of 60. England realized that they had a Mad Cow Disease problem when young people began to get ill and die. The Mad Cows may or may not be in McBain, but they are nearby. Michigan has lost three of its young people. Their ages at death were 28, 26, and 23.
Robert Cohen http://www.notmilk.com