In the summer of 2003, shoppers in Southern California began getting a break on the price of milk.We have an out of date program set up in the Great Depression to help little farmers that is not used to help huge dairy conglomerates. And no one seems to be looking out for the average consumer out buying a gallon of milk for the family.
A maverick dairyman named Hein Hettinga started bottling his own milk and selling it for as much as 20 cents a gallon less than the competition, exercising his right to work outside the rigid system that has controlled U.S. milk production for almost 70 years. Soon the effects were rippling through the state, helping to hold down retail prices at supermarkets and warehouse stores.
That was when a coalition of giant milk companies and dairies, along with their congressional allies, decided to crush Hettinga's initiative. For three years, the milk lobby spent millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions and made deals with lawmakers, including incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).
Last March, Congress passed a law reshaping the Western milk market and essentially ending Hettinga's experiment -- all without a single congressional hearing.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
The Washington Post has a fascinating story today about how politicians on both sides of the aisle banded together with lobbyists and the dairy industry to stop a California dairy farmer who was selling his product cheaper than the big dairy farmers.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 8:49 AM