A simple thought occurred to me while listening to almond industry officials report a number of success stories.
What if the U.S. dairy industry marketed dairy products like the Almond Board of California or Blue Diamond Almonds markets almonds? Would milk prices to dairy farmers continue to be in the tank year-after-year? Would it matter much that corn and cottonseed prices are through the roof if milk prices were at record highs like almonds are?
The Almond Board of California is a marketing order; Blue Diamond Almond is the largest almond cooperative in the United States. Regardless of those differences, both continue to be keenly focused on increasing consumer demand for the products they represent. Can the same statement be made for the U.S. dairy industry?
What if, instead of bickering over pool pricing formulas and defending to the death a convoluted milk pricing system that seems to be doing nobody with dairy cows any good, dairy producers had a similar mindset that selling more milk products to consumers is the key to profitability?
Does the U.S. dairy industry realize that the largest product growth area right now for America's largest almond cooperative is a milk substitute called Almond Breeze? Japanese consumers apparently can't get enough of the stuff, which is resulting in exponential growth of the product line for the cooperative.
The success stories are out there; they are easy to find. Getting agricultural products in the hands and mouths of consumers is not a matter of simply producing it and expecting it to be automatically consumed. It takes work and focus, but it can be done.