According to the Associated Press, congress has granted $350 million in aid to struggling milk producers. It seems there is an oversupply of milk, and the price paid to farmers is so low they are losing money on every gallon sold, hence the needed rescue by taxpayers.
What wasn’t written about is how the farmers got into this mess. I think we know one cause. It’s an instructive lesson in biotech-farming, cellular manipulation, and the agri-industrial complex. Scientists and marketing executives at Monsanto figured out that by dosing cows with the growth hormone rBHT they would produce more milk. Never mind that this unnatural state of being may be uncomfortable or harmful to the cows. Never mind that the consequences of hormone manipulation may cause lasting harm to the animal or serious side effects. Never mind that the residue may poison the consumer. Their only goal is increased profits for the company, regardless of what it does to nature.
Across thousands of farm house tables, and corporate board rooms, the dollar signs flash. “Wow, increased milk production. More milk from the same cow. We’re gonna be rich.” The decision to buy hormones from Monsanto and manipulate milk production is easy.
Multiply this idiocy by the number of cows and, voila, you have an increase in the supply of milk that is evidently unsustainable. Consumption of milk is actually falling due to vastly larger soda marketing budgets. Add on a recession and stretched food budgets and taxpayers come to the rescue.
Like everything else in corporate America, decisions are make in the vacuum of what profits them in short term. Individuals, including farmers, do the same. No one is focused on the collective long-term consequences until it all ends up in the dump of bad ideas and white flags. Free enterprise for corporations and farmers until they need the “socialists” to bail them all out.
What’s next? There is already a glut of cheap low quality wine in the world. For years the Europeans have been buying up billions of gallons of the stuff and either dumping it down a drain or turning it into vinegar. When modern science can increase yields greater than the market can absorb them, a karmic imbalance occurs.
Learning from the lessons of the milk world, we may be faced with something similar in the world of wine. One of the ways to prevent imbalances is to return to the roots of farming; natural, organic and biodynamic. Yields that the earth intended for that particular grape in that particular place. It is doubtful that the taxpayers of Australia, Chile or South Africa will be interested in paying grape growers for nothing. If we all just drank true terroir wines grown carefully in places intended for grapes, we could cure in advance the next liquid oversupply. Cute names and clever graphics developed by gigantic marketing corporations with huge ad budgets can only mask the coming glut of low quality wine. Après that, le deluge.