by Dan Looker
Successful Farming magazine Business Editor
Operators of both large and small dairy farms told a government hearing on competition in Madison, Wisconsin Friday that trading in cheese at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is hurting prices received by producers.
The growing market power of big box retailers and imports of dairy proteins also came up, but a group of farmers from New York to the Midwest to California was nearly unanimous in criticizing a block cheese market that is thinly traded and vulnerable to manipulation.
“This volatility that is being created by the CME is the source of the problem,” said Joel Greeno, who milks 48 cows on his farm near Kendall, Wisconsin. USDA milk prices became more volatile after they were tied to trading of cheese, he said. “It went from fairly stable ups and downs to looking like a heart monitor, and it can’t look like a heart attack.”
Greeno, who uses rotational grazing and is vice president of Family Farm Defenders, was at the smaller end of the spectrum of dairy farms represented at the hearing in the University of Wisconsin student union.… Continue readingRead More »