After 35 years of pretending organic milk is a silly TreeHugger thing, its almost too late for the majority of Wisconsin's farms to catch the market wave. According to Cheese Market News of May 20th
(scroll down to find full story), "Consumer demand for organic dairy products has eclipsed industry expectations: growth predictions that once seemed overly optimistic are lower than actual growth. Yet, despite the market potential, organic companies are failing to cash in on the demand. There simply is not enough organic milk to keep the shelves fully stocked"..."Teresa Marquez, chief marketing executive for Organic Valley Family of Farms, LaFarge, Wis., says her company expected sales to increase by 20 percent in 2004. Instead, it had a 36 percent increase in sales". More insights after the fold.There's a serious downside for TreeHuggers from the shortfall because "producers are missing out on the opportunity to diversify their organic products"
The Cheese Market news article further notes that "the farmers who had an ideological motivation to produce organic milk have already transitioned, leaving farmers who "don¹t know how to do it and don't see the value in it".
With such a high level of unstatisfied Organic milk demand and the severe economic stress already on family farms, the pressure for change looms. One possible side effect is the temptation to offer bogus organic milk to the market. Another is increased prospects for rebellion among the many small and poor dairy farmers who in the 1960's gained national attention as they dumped their raw milk into local creeks and in front of state capitols to protest inadequate prices, angered at having been left out of the profits taken further down the supply chain.
Perhaps the outrage will take a 'back to the future' turn, replaying Wisconsin farmers in an unpdated version of the nascent Republican Pary, which arose, coincidentally, in Ripon Wisconsin. According to a widely cited history, "...at a small church in Ripon, Wisconsin, ... Alan Bovay rallied anti-slavery forces"..."A second meeting was held in a one story schoolhouse in Ripon WI [pictured here]on March 20, 1854. Fifty-four citizens, including three women, dissolved their local committees and chose five men to serve as the committee of the new party:.... Said Mr. Bovay: "We went into the little meeting Whigs, Free Soilers, and Democrats. We came out Republicans and...were the first Republicans in the Union."" The Free Soiler
party members in Wisconsin were not only resisting possible extension of slavery to the WI territory, they were outraged by the then-territorial Governor, James D. Doty, who had laid claim to settled lands and levied property taxes on struggling small farmers who had established their enterprises with little help from government.
Organics Party anyone?