German farmers deploy the milk weapon

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This is a story that I found on my my Google Reader. Published on Foreign Policy - Passport, and inserted into this blog with my Windows Live Writer, this story is important to me for it's content, as well as it's dubious status as my first effort using a new blogging technique.

I spent much of my youth on a farm in the American mid-west and I maintain a close relationship with my family that still lives and works on that farm. Through the years, much effort was made by my Grandfather to establish 'Collective Bargaining' in American Agri-business. Resistance to these efforts frustrated that man his whole life, and I have spent decades trying to understand those forces at work in this nation.

Read this article, and ask yourself; Is this information, or propaganda? Education, or Indoctrination? Does it appeal to your mind, or your emotions? Farmers world-wide have encountered publicity of this type, that always portrays the farmer as insensitive, and rarely mentions the total lack of control that farmers have over the market.

German farmers deploy the milk weapon

Johannes Simon/Getty Images

HOFSTETTEN, GERMANY - MAY 27: Farmer Jakob Moesl (C) blocks the access to his farm with a empty milk tank and a placard reading 'Stop milk delivery!!! For a fair price' on May 27, 2008 in Hofstetten near Landsberg am Lech, Germany.

Germany's dairy farmers are furious. Many have them have stopped shipping milk to factories because they want 43 eurocents a liter, rather than the 28 to 34 cents they get now. But there's a problem: What to do with all the milk they are still producing? The cows don't go on strike just because the farmers do.

According to Deutsche Welle, "the unsold milk is being fed to calves or dumped in farm-waste tanks."

It's a shame when so many people around the world are struggling to buy food, but Romuald Schaber, who heads an association of some 30,000 dairy farmers, says the boycott is the only tool in the farmers' arsenal:

All we can do now is use our milk as a weapon.... Milk is might, and we have the milk."