- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Add to that the dismal economics of milk production, and you have a recipe for dispair.
Those are the feelings of Marc Duivenvoorden, who was recently profiled in the Redding Record-Searchlight. He owns a dairy on the border of Tehama and Shasta counties with 25 producing Jersey and Holstein cows.
Processors are required to pay farmers for milk using formulas set by state regulators and based off commodity prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. California processors are currently buying milk for $11 to $15 per hundredweight. With feed and overhead costs, Duivenvoorden spends at least $18 to produce a hundredweight, the story said.
Reporter Ryan Sabalow wrote in his article about the additional burden of managing dairy waste. He wrote that UC Cooperative Extension informed him that dairy farmers are required to have a waste-management plan to control dry manure and wastewater, and must complete an annual plan to safely contain nitrate- and ammonia-rich dairy waste byproducts.
Meanwhile, one of the UC programs that supports small scale farmers - the Small Farm Program - is slated for closure on Dec. 31. Over the weekend, the former director of the program, Desmond Jolly, wrote an essay for the Davis Enterprise suggesting that the decision is ill-advised.
The article, which is only available online to Enterprise subscribers, said the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources "took a giant step backwards" with the decision.
In a letter distributed Oct. 22, UC ANR vice president Dan Dooley noted that all advisors and specialists affiliated with the program have retained their positions and are "expected to continue their excellent work." Coordination of program functions will continue through workgroups, continuing conferences, and collaborations among individual advisors, specialists and faculty on research and outreach contracts and grants.