Leahy: Competition undermining sustainability of Northeast’s dairy farms

first_imgSenator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Saturday that the dairy crisis may make it easier to detect competition barriers that undermine prices paid to dairy farmers.  Leahy, who chairs the U.S. Senate s Judiciary Committee, brought a field hearing to St. Albans to examine competition and consolidation in the Northeast dairy market.  Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joined Leahy in the questioning.Leahy s long running concern about the concentration of economic power in U.S. agriculture in bigger and fewer corporations has intersected this year with the new Obama Administration s interest in reenergizing antitrust tools to protect consumers, farmers and smaller businesses.  As witnesses, Leahy invited the newly installed chief of the Justice Department s Antitrust Division, the Department of Agriculture s Chief Economist, and Vermont dairy farmers with varying views and operations.  The severity and urgency of this crisis cannot be overstated, said Leahy.  Not just here in Vermont, but across the country, our bedrock dairy industry is on the brink of collapse.  Dairy farmers who had hoped to pass their farms on to future generations are now weighed down with loans and are losing money every day.  They feel those dreams slipping quickly away.He continued:  Farmers are doing all the work, they are taking all the risk, and they are making investments that span not just lives, but generations.  They put their all into their farms, and all they ask is a fair price to keep their farms going.  That s only fair, and that s only right.Leahy said consolidation has led to a breakdown of competition, with Vermont dairy farmers not getting their fair share of the retail price of milk, while corporate processors appear to be raking in profits as they continue to raise prices to consumers.He noted, Earlier this year when prices paid to farmers dropped by more than a quarter from January to February, consumers only saw store prices cut by six percent.  This hurts both farmers and consumers, and suggests a much larger problem with competition and consolidation within the market.  When consumers are in the grocery store they don t realize that less than 40 percent of what they spend on a gallon of milk makes its way back to our dairy farmers.Leahy said his concerns eight years ago about the merger of Dean Foods and Suiza Foods have been validated.  It seems that market dominance has translated into overwhelming power in the dairy industry, and we have seen local dairies and processing facilities bought, and then closed.Leahy termed a welcome change the new attitude by the Obama Administration s Justice and Agriculture Departments in launching a fresh evaluation of competition and regulatory enforcement in agriculture markets, and he said policymakers in Congress and federal agencies need to focus on both short-term and long-term solutions to the current dairy crisis and to the worsening cycles that threaten the sustainability of the nation s dairy farms. Leahy s full statement follows (below).  Written testimony of the witnesses will be available soon after the hearing begins, at 10 a.m. (EDT) Saturday, Sept. 19, on the Judiciary Committee s website, at: http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=4055(link is external) Statement of Senator Patrick LeahyChairmanSenate Judiciary CommitteeCrisis on the Farm: The State Of Competition And Prospects for Sustainability in the Northeast Dairy IndustrySt. Albans, VermontSeptember 19, 2009I thank you all, everyone in this room, for coming today as we hold this hearing on the competition and crisis in the Northeast dairy industry.  I would like to thank Representative Peter Welch, who was unable to be here today but has been leading the charge to address the dairy crisis in the House.  We are grateful to all of our witnesses, and we know that some of you have made a great effort to travel to Vermont to participate.  Finally, I would like to thank St. Albans Mayor, Martin Manahan, for his hospitality.This is an official hearing of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Senate s official rules of decorum will be in effect.  We invite anyone who would like to express their views on the issues presented today to submit testimony for the record.Before we start, I would like to take a moment to dedicate today s hearing in honor of Harold Howrigan and his service to this community, to our state and to Vermont s dairy industry.  Harold was a great man, and a good man, whose accomplishments are as impressive as the personal legacy he has left behind.  There were certainly a lot of years in his life, 85 in all, and there was a lot of life in those years.  I am proud to have known Harold and am so fortunate to call him my friend.  I will always look back fondly of my memories and times with Harold and his lovely wife, Anne.  I know so many others will do the same.Here in Vermont, the dairy industry is a pillar of our state s economy, culture and landscape.  Though dairy farmers have long contended with the volatility of milk prices — even more than they have had to adjust to changing weather — today we face a crisis of epic proportions.  Prices have fallen to lows that no one in this room thought we would ever see.  The fact that the cost of production is higher than ever only compounds the problem, and has increased the gap between what it costs our farmers to produce milk and what they are paid for that milk. The severity and urgency of this crisis cannot be overstated.  Not just here in Vermont, but across the country, our bedrock dairy industry is on the brink of collapse.  So many of our dairy farmers who had hoped to pass their farms on to future generations are now weighed down with loans and losing money every day.  They feel those dreams slipping quickly away.In Vermont, we have lost 35 of our dairy farms this year, and last year we lost another 19.  Each loss of a Vermont dairy farm ripples through families, through our communities and through our economy.  It has been easy for many Americans to take American dairy farmers for granted.  Their hard work and steady contributions to the Nation s dinner tables and to our economy are a vital part of the infrastructure that is the miracle and the blessing of America s farms.  They provide a highly perishable product that puts them more directly at the mercy of fluctuating markets and costs of production.  We need both short-term solutions to get out of this crisis, as well as long-term solutions to make sure we do not return to this tumultuous cycle of volatility that threatens farmers very survivability.  That is the purpose of this hearing and of all of the efforts being made to stimulate the dairy industry.The Senate Judiciary Committee continues to keep a close eye on competition issues in the Northeast dairy market.  The current crisis only serves to illuminate the industry s structural issues.  We are looking to the agencies that administer our laws to learn whether they have the tools necessary to protect dairy farmers and consumers, and whether those tools can be used to promote sustainability of family farms. While many areas of the economy are suffering in this recession, the dairy industry is particularly hard hit.  With consumer demand down, the price paid to farmers for milk has fallen to record lows.  Consumers, however, have yet to see such a massive corresponding drop in retail prices on store shelves.  We have long blown the whistle on this disconnect between the price farmers receive for their milk, and the retail price consumers pay in grocery stores.  Earlier this year when prices paid farmers dropped by more than a quarter from January to February, consumers only saw store prices cut by six percent.  This hurts both farmers and consumers, and suggests a much larger problem with competition and consolidation within the market.  When consumers are in the grocery store they don t realize that less than 40 percent of what they spend on a gallon of milk makes its way back to our dairy farmers.Farmers are doing all the work, they are taking all the risk, and they are making investments that span not just lives, but generations.  They put their all into their farms, and all they ask is a fair price to keep their farms going.  That s only fair, and that s only right.The consolidation in recent years throughout the agriculture sector has had a tremendous impact on the lives and livelihoods of American farmers.  It affects producers of most commodities in virtually every region of the country, and it affects Vermont s dairy farmers.For decades, dairy farming in Vermont seemed immune from the consequences of restructuring and consolidation, because cooperatives also served as milk processors for local or regional markets.  National markets did not exist.  But times have changed and the structure is dramatically different today.  The result has been a breakdown of competition, with Vermont dairy farmers not getting their fair share of the retail price of milk, while corporate processors appear to be raking in profits as they continue to raise prices to consumers. As I think about the gap between retail and farm prices I cannot help but think back to 2001 and the Dean Foods merger with Suiza Foods.  That merger created the largest milk processing company in the world, and I continue to be disappointed that the Justice Department under the previous administration approved it.  Just as I had feared eight years ago, it seems that market dominance has translated into overwhelming power in the dairy industry, and we have seen local dairies and processing facilities bought, and then closed.  While Dean Foods buys roughly 15 percent of the Nation s raw fluid milk supply, their strategic alliances with other entities expand the company s influence much further.  One of these alliances is with the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the cooperative that represents 22,000 dairy farmers in 43 states.  While it is difficult to point to one cause of the dairy farmer s plight, Dean Foods is posting record-setting profits and paying huge executive salaries.  Meanwhile, the prices for dairy farmers are at all-time lows and forcing multi-generation farms out of business.  This raises serious questions about the state of competition in the Vermont dairy market, and throughout the Northeast.In the past, farmers unsatisfied with the prices offered by a processor or manufacturer could market directly to consumers.  But those opportunities for independent marketing have been all but eliminated. Time and again, many powerful interests have opposed our efforts to ensure free and fair markets for agricultural producers.  Last month s announcement that the Department of Justice and the Department of Agriculture will be holding their first-ever joint workshops to discuss competition and regulatory enforcement in the agriculture industry is a welcome change.  I am pleased that Assistant Attorney General Varney, the Department of Justice, Secretary Vilsack, and the Department of Agriculture are taking these issues so seriously.  We will hear first-hand testimony today about how, and why, Vermont dairy farmers are hurting.  Bringing this hearing to St. Albans will ensure that Vermont s voice and Vermont s experience will help inform Congress about these issues.  We want to build a hearing record that will let policymakers in Congress and Federal agencies hear directly from the farmers who are coping with this crisis every day.  And as a part of that record, on behalf of Vermont s Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee, who unfortunately was not able to be here today, I would like to officially submit a copy of the Vermont Milk Commission s Final Report. Senator Sanders and I recognize that today is a holiday for many, and we understand why Vermonters may not have been able to travel to this hearing.  With that understanding, I invite all Vermonters to submit testimony for the record, which will remain open until September 30.  Information about how to submit testimony is available here today.I look forward to the testimony of all of today s witnesses as we continue to seek new ways to address the dairy crisis and improve market opportunities for America s farmers and ranchers.  Source: Leahy’s office. ST. ALBANS, Vt. (Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009)last_img read more

City couple snap up luxe home in quiet Brisbane suburb

first_imgCheck out the leafy outlook at 23 Cromwell Close, Brookfield.The previous highest price paid for a home at Cromwell Close was $885,000 in 2014, according to researcher CoreLogic.“The buyers are a busy couple that work in the city and wanted the peace and quiet,” Mr Juresic said.“They get that with this home which offers great privacy overlooking bushland, yet it’sonly around 13km to Brisbane’s CBD.”Located in the Kensington Estate, the home is on a 1010sq m allotment on a no-through road. More from newsDigital inspection tool proves a property boon for REA website3 Apr 2020The Camira homestead where kids roamed free28 May 2019One of the bedrooms at 23 Cromwell Close, Brookfield.Mr Juresic said the house was beautifully renovated by the sellers, who had lived there for 19 years.“They raised their children there and then realised the home was too large for just the two of them,” he said. 23 Cromwell Close, Brookfield.The lure of a peaceful escape from the city grind has resulted in the record sale of a home in Brisbane’s leafy Brookfield.The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home at 23 Cromwell Close sold for $1.020 million a few weeks ago.NGU Real Estate’s Emil Juresic sold the double-storey home within a week of listing the property.last_img read more

The Latest: Soccer game between Mexico and Colombia canceled

first_img___The Turkish Boxing Federation says national team member Serhat Guler and trainer Seyfullah Dumlupinar tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from an Olympic qualifying competition in London.The federation says the boxing team went to a training camp in Sheffield on March 3 to prepare for the competition and traveled to London on March 11. All team members stayed at the same hotel and ate at the same cafeteria.The IOC is running the qualifying competitions for boxing because governing body AIBA has been suspended.The Turkish team competed on March 15 and 16 and returned home on March 17 after the IOC halted the competition. All team members were quarantined on return. Associated Press March 26, 2020 Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says “in these difficult times, it’s important that the stronger shoulders support the weaker shoulders.”___Paris Saint-Germain is selling a new jersey online with the profits going to local hospitals and nursing staff dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.The French champion’s jersey bears the emblem “Tous Unis” (All United) on the front.A total of 262,500 euros (about $288,000) will be raised if all 1,500 jerseys priced at 175 euros ($192) are sold. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___ A soccer exhibition between Mexico and Colombia on May 30 at Denver has been canceled because of the new coronavirus pandemic. The Latest: Soccer game between Mexico and Colombia canceledcenter_img PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi says “we can only be sensitive to and grateful for the astounding work” that medical staff on the front line have done against the virus.___The Spanish Grand Prix on the MotoGP circuit scheduled for May 3 has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.It is the fifth MotoGP race to be canceled or postponed.The next race at risk is the French Grand Prix on May 17 at Le Mans. Civic groups, businesses and individuals are donating much-needed masks and any material that can used to make protective gear for doctors and nurses.___Four German soccer clubs have pledged 20 million euros ($21.9 million) to support other teams struggling to stay afloat after games in the country were suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen will forgo 12.5 million euros ($13.7 million) in as-yet undistributed TV money and add another 7.5 million euros ($8.2 million) from their own funds. All four clubs played in the Champions League this season, giving them extra income.The German Football League, which oversees the top two divisions, will decide how the money is distributed. The league has previously said it fears many clubs could face financial collapse if games can’t resume. The federation says Guler and Dumlupinar are being treated in the hospital. Two other boxers who complained of high fever are awaiting the results of their tests.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 Soccer United Marketing, the wing of Major League Soccer that was promoting the match, said Thursday the federations will attempt to reschedule the game before the World Cup in November 2022.___Real Madrid and Spanish sports authorities say the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium will be used to store donations of medical supplies to help combat the coronavirus outbreak.The soccer club says it will use the stadium to store private donations. They will then be distributed by government authorities to hospitals.Spain has 56,188 infections and more than 4,000 fatalities from the COVID-19 virus.last_img read more

Padraic Maher to captain Tipp hurlers in 2017

first_imgThe Thurles Sarsfields player takes over the role from Brendan Maher.Seamus Callanan will be the side’s vice-captain next year.last_img

SBC Bookies Corner: Grab’em by the Midterms

first_img Submit Related Articles StumbleUpon Share Billed as the most important midterm elections in modern US history, this 6 November US states decide their representatives for the House & Senate. Can the Democrats secure their much desired ‘Blue Wave’, or have polls underestimated President Trump yet again? Furthermore, will Midterms 2018 showcase the lead cast for the US  2020 General Election… SBC gets the bookies lowdown!  __________________Katie Baylis – BetfairSBC: The majority of midterm polls indicate a ‘Democrat blue wave’. How confident can Democrats be of flipping the House and Senate, or will history simply repeat 2016 proceedings?  Katie Baylis (UK & Europe PR Lead Betfair): With polls indicating the Democrats are on target for a majority in the House of Representatives, it’s no surprise that punters on Betfair Exchange see it that way as well. A Democrat Majority is currently at odds of 4/9 or a 69% chance, with a Republican Majority at 2/1 or a 31% chance.The battle of the Senate is a tougher proposition for the Democrats of course and they are a long shot at 13/1 to or just a 7% chance of gaining a majority, but if they can take the House of Representatives then we are set for fireworks over the next term with President Trump’s plans sure to be blocked and delayed at every turn, leading to an even more tumultuous pollical climate in the States than ever before.Sarbjit Bakhshi – SmarketsSBC: At a market-level, what are the most hotly contested 2018 gubernatorial races. What states should political punters be monitoring?Sarbjit Bakhshi – Smarkets (Head of Politics – Smarkets): At a state-level, Smarkets sees three intriguing gubernatorial races, which pitch Republican Trump-MAGA stalwarts against fresh Democrat faces.First up,  the Florida Governor Election has been regarded as a toss-up race between two partisan contenders for the Senate, Congressman Ron DeSantis (Republican) and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (Democrat).Our market has Gillum last traded at 68%, which indicates that the black Democrat backed by Bernie Sanders will take the seat. DeSantis is strongly aligned with Trump and his ‘Make America Great Again’ programme.Meanwhile, the Georgia race between Stacey Abrams (Democrat) versus Brian Kemp (Republican) is particularly intriguing. If Abrams wins, she will be the first female African-American Governor in US history. At present Smarkets,  has Abrams at 44% against Kemp, but this race is regarded as a toss-up by most political commentators even if Democrats haven’t won a major statewide office in Georgia since 2000.Finally, Nevada is just too close to call, who will replace outgoing Republican Governor Brian Sandoval.At present we are leaning to the Democrats, as Adam Laxalt (Republican) last traded at 49% against Steve Sisolak (Democrat) at 56%. There is another deep ideological split in this race with Laxalt garnering the support of Trump and Sisolak wanting to support the marijuana industry in the StateMatt Shaddick – LadbrokesSBC: Will the midterms reveal US 2020’s Presidential Candidates for both the Democrat and Republican parties. Which US runner has caught the public’s attention?Matt Shaddick (Head of Politics – Ladbrokes): Whilst these midterm elections look likely to be the biggest ever in terms of betting interest, they probably won’t impact the 2020 Presidential race all that much.Even if the Republicans do much worse than expected, there doesn’t seem all that much danger to Trump being the nominee.On the Democrat side, the one new runner to emerge has been Beto O’Rourke, Ted Cruz’s opponent in Texas. A narrow loss might be the best scenario for those who got on the Beto 2020 bandwagon early and at big prices.Joe Lee – Paddy PowerSBC: Does a Republican loss of the House & Senate, necessarily lead to a Trump impeachment and resignation? Is this Democrat wishful thinking… Has President Trump been underestimated yet again?Joe Lee (Head of Trump Betting – Paddy Power): A few weeks out from midterm madness, the words ‘Trump’ and ‘Impeachment’ are forced back together like an aged boyband trying to rekindle glories past.The balance of power in both the House and the Senate are back up for grabs which some believe will pave the way for Trump to be impeached. The US Constitution allows for Impeachment of a sitting President when the House of Representatives votes in favour by a majority followed by a trail in the Senate. If the individual is found guilty in the Senate by two-thirds or more, then they are removed from office.Currently, Paddy Power bet 4/11 (73%) that the Democrats hold a House majority after these midterms. That could be step one in pushing an impeachment case to the Senate where things may come a cropper.The Democrats are seen as 9/1 underdogs (10%) to hold control of the Senate. You’re looking at some fancy prices to have both of these happen couples with an Impeachment, which means the Democrats are most likely going to continue to be Trumped for now…at least until 2020! Flutter moves to refine merger benefits against 2020 trading realities August 27, 2020 Share Paddy Power raises awareness of Missing People with Motherwell ‘silhouette’ stand August 7, 2020 Bakhshi and Shaddick launch ‘Art of the Possible’ podcast tracking US 2020 developments August 10, 2020last_img read more

Uli Hoeness set to leave Bayern Munich role

first_img Source: RTE Uli Hoeness, the long-serving president of German soccer club Bayern Munich, is planning to retire and hand over his duties to a former Adidas Chief Executive in November, German daily Bild reported on Wednesday.Hoeness will not stand for reelection as club president and intends to also quit his role as supervisory board chairman, reported Germany’s largest selling newspaper Bild, which has proved credible in the past.According to the report, Hoeness intends to hand over his duties as president to former Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer, who is already a member of the club’s supervisory board.Bayern Munich was not immediately available for comment.World Cup and European Championship winner, Hoeness, served the club as a player from 1970-1979 and took over as general manager, and later president, immediately after his career.He is one of the most wealthy figures in German soccer.His departure, along with Oliver Kahn’s planned taking over as general manager starting in 2022, would mark the beginning of a new era at the club.Despite the club’s hegemony in Germany in winning seven Bundesliga titles in a row, Bayern have struggled to keep up at the international level.After last winning the Champions League in 2013, Bayern Munich have failed to reach the final again, with their elimination by eventual champion Liverpool in March in the round of 16 marking a recent low point.Hoeness, aged 67, was reelected in 2016 as club president after he had spent several months in prison for a multi-million euro tax evasion, a crime Hoeness admitted to German judges.last_img read more