April 6, 2018

What You Think Of President Trump

 |  By: Mike Opperman

Recently I wrote a blog post titled “Is Trump Good For Dairy?” President Trump can stir emotions, and that was evident in the reader responses I received from that post.

In general, those who responded echoed the same sentiment: we’ll see. Bob Kilmer, a producer from Massachusettes, put it best: “It’s a $64 million question. I think he’s playing poker with the American economy. He’s playing a strong hand and if he plays it right we could have short-term gains, but long-term it could have serious complications. I think he’s short sighted and doesn’t have a long-game. Only time will tell, we have to do our best on farm and ride the wave.”


Some political experts have compared the economic reforms put in place by President Trump to the same reforms passed by Ronald Reagan. That surprises many, including this reader who wished to remain anonymous: “Your comparison with Ron Reagan almost made me lose my coffee thru my nose as well . . . . . I vote both ways, but my staunch Republican friends are worried.  They better have a substitute candidate. He will never make a second term, and may not make the remaining term.”

Most who responded agreed the current dire dairy situation doesn’t have anything to do with Trump. “Problems facing dairy at the moment have nothing to do with Trump,” said Ron O’Brien, global derivatives director at Interfood. “Costs are below production because of overproduction and ever expanding capacity without demand. Exports have been on fire since he has taken presidency but even a Trump supporter like myself can't give him credit for that.”


“The current dairy crises is simple and doesn’t involve President Trump,” says Terry Weaver, president and general manager of USA Gypsum. “Increasing production and shrinking demand equals low prices in any commodity. I believe the root cause for the dairy crises is a lack of marketing the product. Compare the marketing of Silk almond milk to real milk.”


Many of the producers who responded put the blame for the current situation squarely on the shoulders of dairy farmers. “All these doom and gloom problems didn’t just start with Trump as you’re eluding to. Personally I voted for change,” says Tom Hirsch, a dairy producer in Sleepy Eye, Minn. “So if you think the status quo outlook looks awful bleak and just started with President Donald Trump, take a look around. I think we all should shoulder some blame.”


Maryland dairy producer Angie Leach of Wet Meadows Farm agrees. “Every day we pray for our president and those who try to lead our country, all of us need to do this. President Trump did NOT do to dairy what is happening to us. Maybe he will take away the regulations put upon the dairy producers who make less than anyone in this game.” 


Rick Smith, a producer near Shawano, Wis., says President Trump may or may not be to blame. “The writing was already on the wall with regard to small dairy farmers and has been for eight decades,” he says. “Trashing President Trump will do nothing to cure dairy's ultimate and fast approaching demise. Not even higher prices.”

A Canadian producer, Dave Broersma, says maybe the current situation will push the U.S. toward supply management. “The low pricing has started the conversation in states like Wisconsin about supply management and how that could benefit the overall U.S. producer,” he says. “What that looks like for all the different states, I don’t know if there is a component to that with exports. But at least the conversation helps with knowing all the options. That could help the industry long-term.”

Finally, even a vegan weighed in on the subject. “He compromised your labor market. He compromised your export market,” says Robert Cohen, a self-proclaimed “vegan with a sense of humor” who says dairy farmers are the hardest working people in America with a work ethic that once made us great. “I'm not sure about whether or not he is good for dairy, but it is clear that the man is brilliant (and my hero) as he will be stealing the hardest workers in America (dairymen) who have the same ethic which made America great and they will find new careers (as their farms go out of business). So the question you might ask is, is Trump good for Notmilk? The answer gets two thumbs up for POTUS.”

Time will tell what impact President Trump will have on the dairy industry, but one thing is for sure – the debate will continue.

What do you think? Let’s keep the conversation going – email your thoughts to me at [email protected]. Note: the comments are from people who agreed to have their responses posted. In some instances the responses were quite long, and I’ve chosen a portion of their response. If you want a full response from someone, send me an email.