We believe that Land O' Lakes, Inc., as a dairy cooperative, should pay its farmers a fair price. A fair price would cover farmers’ costs of production, which include land for grazing, feed (hay or grain), milking and refrigeration equipment, and labor. Currently that price is about $2.59 per gallon of milk.
Cooperatives are supposed to advocate on behalf of their farmer members for better prices, but instead the Land O’Lakes cooperative has helped to drive DOWN the prices farmers get for their milk. Today most dairy farmers receive only $1 for every $4-gallon of milk, while the other $3 goes to buyers, processors, industry middlemen, and retailers.
Nationwide, the number of dairy farms has fallen from more than 640,000 in 1970 to fewer than 60,000 today! If we want fresh, healthy, local milk, yogurt and cheese, we need our dairy farmers to stay in business, and for them to stay in business, they must be paid a fair price. This doesn't mean that consumers will pay more at the store, only that Land O' Lakes, processors and middlemen will receive a little less in profit while its farmer members will receive their fair share.
Per their website, "Land O’Lakes is the second largest U.S. cooperative with approximately 9,600 employees, nearly 4,000 direct producer-members, and 900 member-cooperatives serving more than 300,000 agricultural producers. Land O’Lakes, Inc. has annual sales of over $14 billion and is No. 210 on the Fortune 500."
Shouldn’t Land O’ Lakes pay their farmers a fair price so that they can afford to stay in business?