My new novel, Ordinary World, is now available as an e-book on Smashwords. Please check it out!
Here at the Heritage House we have a small but diverse selection of vendors. Offerings include ceramics, jewelry, prints, photography, note cards, handbags, and more. And of course, cheese! Heritage House is located at the corner of Main and 100 South, one block west of the visitors center. Vendor hours are 9 am to 6 pm today, 9 am to 3 pm tomorrow.
Kanab is celebrating Jacob Hamblin Days this weekend, and we’ll be there! Highlights include cowboy breakfast, rodeo events, wild horse adoption, ATV and equestrian trail rides, western music & dinner, and more! Vendors will be set up at Heritage House, at the corner of 100 South and Main.
Jacob Hamblin was a pioneer, LDS missionary, and keeper of the peace with local native tribes. Hi Wiki entry is interesting reading.
Congress is proposing the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, which (proponents claim) would prevent wide swings in the price of milk. The program doesn’t pay farmers to produce less, but rather penalizes those who produce more than the government says they should.
Both opponents and proponents agree that the effect would be to bolster milk prices. One analysis shows that dairies would have collected an additional $3 billion in revenues during 2009 if the program had been in place. Predictably, milk producers support the program, while milk processors and consumer groups oppose it.
As a small cheese producer that buys milk from other dairies, we empathize with dairymen who need to get a fair price for their milk. We want small dairies to work with, and price fluctuations have driven many of them out of business. In recent years, the number of dairies in Beaver County has declined from 25 to 6. There are four dairies in Iron County, and only one of them is small.
Yet we have to wonder, are price controls a good idea? Milk prices fluctuate largely on the price of feed, which has been volatile because of the increased severe weather – droughts and floods – in recent years. Scientists tell us that this is a result of climate change. If so, feed prices will continue to fluctuate. With that predictable that supply-side problem, does it make sense to regulate the price a dairy can get for its milk?
The bottom line for us is that if we believe in free markets, price controls are a bad idea. We would rather see the elimination of subsidies paid to large dairies, to give small dairies a more even playing field.
What do fiscal and economic policy have to do with cheesemaking and local food? Quite a bit. First, our money is the basis for exchange. Without a healthy dollar, our customers can’t buy what we sell. (Increasingly we trade rather than sell our products. Yes, we report that on our taxes.)
Fiscal and economic policies also help determine where the money goes. As small producers, our competition is not other small producers, but giant agribusinesses that get a boost from government subsidies, and often have the ear of Congress when it comes to making food laws. The same is true of your local organic farmer: he or she is competing at some level with giant farms that receive billions in support from the government – and that spend billions to make sure regulations are written with them in mind.
Here are just a few facts to consider:
* A handful of giant agribusinesses received over $180 billion over the past fifteen years in subsidies for four crops: corn, wheat, cotton, and soy.
* Agribusinesses spent over $137 million last year on lobbyists to influence Congress, and contributed over $65 million to candidates for federal office. (It may be no surprise that Monsanto Co spent the most on lobbyists.)
* Fossil fuel subsidies are estimated to be as much as $52 billion per year to ensure that fuel prices remain artificially low so industries can truck mass-produced goods to our local markets. Our gasoline prices, much as we like to complain, are 33% lower than the world average.
If our government subsidizes a company with millions of dollars, and that company in turn spends millions of dollars on lobbyists and contributions, aren’t we taxpayers paying for them to have an unfair advantage over us?
We’re leaving for a wedding in Denver today, so there will be some changes to our markets this weekend. We won’t be at Kanab. In Springdale, look for our cheese at Marti Jam Lady’s booth; she won’t be accepting credit cards or EBT. In Cedar City and St. George, Red Acre Farm will have our cheese as usual. We’ll be back at our usual markets next week. Thanks for your patience!
Our government is awash in deficit spending and debt. Our leaders assure us that this is sane fiscal policy. Sure, they quibble over how much to tax and how much to spend, but the truth is, even the Tea Party hasn’t proposed enough cuts to make a significant difference – and no one dares suggest more taxes to increase revenues.The result is, business as usual for the foreseeable future.
I decided to compare our economy against some of the other major economies in the world.
On a list of Debt to GDP By Country, the only major industrial economies to rank worse than we do are economically-troubled Japan and Italy. We are not in good company.
We have a lot of requests for goat cheese. We recognize that some people can’t eat cow cheese, and others prefer goat cheese. And we’ve been told that our goat cheese was some of the best in the world. (Chef Jeff Crosland of Parallel 88 Restaurant told us he’s tasted goat cheese from all over the world, and ours was his favorite.) So why aren’t we making it anymore?
Unfortunately, with just the two of us running the business, we couldn’t do it all. We had to hire people to milk and care for the goats, while we made the cheese. The labor and associated taxes were costing us so much that we were losing money. We did some price surveys, and we just couldn’t charge enough to make it worth our while. Until we can find a solution for that, goat cheese will not be in our line-up.
We decided to focus on cow cheese instead. We buy our cow milk raw from another local dairy, and we can focus on making excellent cheese.
Our apologies to those who loved our goat cheese so much. We hope that most of you will find cow cheeses you enjoy equally well.
Wheat is not one of the crops listed as at risk for GMOs. Yesterday, Polizeros highlighted a report that “rogue” GMO wheat has been discovered in Oregon. Apparently Monsanto tested the wheat some years ago, but never released it for commercial sale. Japan has already suspended its imports of U.S. wheat, and the E.U. is recommending testing of our wheat to ensure that its crops do not get contaminated. Our government’s irresponsible approach to GMOs is hurting farmers who thought they were GMO-free.