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USDA trying to shut local dairy Smith Brothers


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One of the only surviving local farm interests, an institution in Kent since 1920, will be forced to close if a new USDA proposal passes. Smith Brothers owns their cows and processes the milk themselves (a producer-handler, as opposed to a producer that sends milk off to a distant "pool" for processing). This local milk is free of BST/etc, and they deliver it to 40,000 homes and local businesses. Lobby by huge supermarket chains has successfully got a proposal through the system and it will force the closure of three dairies in Pacific NW (two in Washington and one is Oregon).

Link below to story,

http://www.capitalpress.info/main.asp?Sect...7402&TM=28930.1

You can submit comment to USDA via online form:

http://www.keepmilkpriceslow.org/aspx/stopusda.aspx

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This link on the Smith Brother's website describes some of the issues (and it does not require registration): click

Thanks for posting this ImportFood.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Thanks for alerting me to this issue. I am a big fan of their milk, and have been buying it regularly at PCC for years, now (though I miss the glass bottle packaging).

Is this issue as straight forward as it seems (i.e., big business and the USDA squashing successful, local businesses that operate on a different model than the big boys)?

Does anyone have any further insight into the subject?

Robin Tyler McWaters

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We’ve been getting Smith Bros. milk delivered for years now. I prefer their milk due to its good taste, no rBST, and it’s from their farm only. Their eggs are good too.

Dairygold and others pool all milk and send it out, so it has mixtures from variety of sources (god knows from where). My milkman dropped off the flyer about this issue -- they are forced to pay into the dairy farm assistance pool, which would be over and beyond their annual profits…

Funny thing is that my friend’s family owns/runs Smith Bros. She did mention this to me last week and said the milkman would be dropping off the flyers. She said that they would have to sell their milk into the “pool” and buy it back at a higher price. They are truly a small family-run business and not sure how they will handle this.

Yes I feel for the dairy & other farmer’s predicament these days, but I also want my pure milk from a single source. And isn’t this against protecting a smaller farm – Smith Bros.? This one’s tough, but I am on Smith Bro.’s side even without the disclosure above. The independent milkmen also make very small margins off the milk and really hustle to make those deliveries!

-hungry_moose

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A couple of weeks ago I had submitted a comment to the USDA via the keepmilkpriceslow website . Today I got this response:

Thank you very much for your recent electronic message to Secretary Mike Johanns concerning the proposed rule, "Milk in the Pacific Northwest and Arizona-Las Vegas Marketing Areas," published by the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in the April 13, 2005, Federal Register. I am pleased to respond on Secretary Johanns' behalf.

Because the rulemaking process is currently underway, we are unable to address the specific issues you raise. Please be assured, however, that all of the comments we receive will be given full consideration as the final rule is developed.

Thank you again for your comments and for your interest in this matter.

Sincerely,

KENNETH C. CLAYTON

Acting Administrator

Agricultural Marketing Service

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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Any ideas out there for a grass roots protest? Any eG people with political ties or anyone who is publicity savvy? Lets try and fight the man. Is it even possible? Is it too 1960's? It would have to be more than picket signs or tying ourselves to the cow field gate. :sad:

I know several restaurant owners ... and a LOT of militant foodies...Alice Waters would be all over this, not that I know her...anyone want to fight? Does anyone know if the owners of Smith Dairy might support an effort on their behalf? I don't like to whine about issues without trying to do something.

Its just that this quote from Danny Westneat's Seattle Times story seems so cynical, resigned and hopeless:

"So what we have is the government, prodded by large corporations, saying it is helping small family farms by destroying one of our most successful small family farms.

Come to think of it, I guess that is American-style capitalism after all."

Edited by olivina (log)
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One angle of a possible protest may be to get a woman organization involved because Smith Bros is not only very well run but also a completely woman-owned and managed company. Mr Smith had no sons and four daughters, one of whom has run the dairy for as long as I can remember, at least since the mid 1980s when I worked there. She is quoted in the various articles, Alexis Koester.

Any ideas out there for a grass roots protest?

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One angle of a possible protest may be to get a woman organization involved because Smith Bros is not only very well run but also a completely woman-owned and managed company.  Mr Smith had no sons and four daughters, one of whom has run the dairy for as long as I can remember, at least since the mid 1980s when I worked there.  She is quoted in the various articles, Alexis Koester.
Any ideas out there for a grass roots protest?

There is a women's chef organization. I'll give them a call and see if there is an interest.

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I just talked with my friend (one of the Koester daughters) and looks like the mom is flying to Washington D.C. this week to help the case. They are for the protest, but not sure if it will do any good here, most of the fighting is done in D.C. They would like us to continue writing letters in via the website:

http://www.keepmilkpriceslow.org/

The deadline is looming and just 7 more days to write our letters in.

Koester mom is also having lunch today with Dave Reichert (Congressman).

I’ll keep you guys posted if mom or daughters has anything that we can do before or after her trip to the DC.

They thank you guys for the support!

-hungry_moose

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I just sent my letter via the website. It's sad, but it seems that there's just not that much urgency around this for many people.

Jan

Seattle, WA

"But there's tacos, Randy. You know how I feel about tacos. It's the only food shaped like a smile....A beef smile."

--Earl (Jason Lee), from "My Name is Earl", Episode: South of the Border Part Uno, Season 2

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I just sent my letter via the website.  It's sad, but it seems that there's just not that much urgency around this for many people.

I sent my letter in as well. We can only hope this helps. :rolleyes: wl

Edited by white lotus (log)
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It is so depressing to me.

It's one thing to see market forces (american laziness, lack of palate) drive small local producers out of business. It's another thing to see them lobbied and legislated out of business.

The idea that I might not be able to support local, small, family owned dairies... that I might not be able to choose a product based on taste... and that we're going to see a futher "lowest common denominator" lack of choice here...

I grew up surrounded by small family dairy farms in New England and watched one after another go out of business or be bought up by large agribusinesses. I went from having our fresh milk dropped off by our neighbors to having local dairy milk delivered from a truck to buying generic aggregated milk in the supermarket in less than 15 years.

Running a small family farm is hard enough under the best of circumstances - the idea that our gov't is trying to make it harder is appalling to me.

fanatic...

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