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Audio Slideshow: Organic Dairy Farmers Rally

I didn't bring the video camera when I attended the organic dairy farmers rally in La Crosse on Thursday, but I did bring my still camera and a tape recorder to document what I heard and saw. Over the weekend, I put the two together into a short audio slide show, which gives a sampling of the testimonies given by some of the dairy farmers before and after USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack showed up.

If you're having trouble with the video player above, try viewing it on YouTube. And to view more of my photos from the organic dairy rally, head over to our Flickr page.


Reader Comments (6)

Kickass way to cover this event - really nice stills, and some good tape. Did you get the impression that the farmers felt like the rally was a success?

I don't 100% understand the issues - are they asking Vilsack for a price floor on organic milk? or on all milk?

And good music too - ominous, not too folksy, and really helped the pacing of the slideshow.

July 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

And oh yeah - my comp. still sux, so Vimeo was choppy - the youtube links are worth your a's and your href's...

July 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Thanks, Alex.

I'm not really sure if they thought it was a success. Most of the farmers seemed pleased that Vilsack actually showed up and listened for a few minutes, and there were plenty of journalists covering it, so I think they were able to get their message out, but because of the gloomy atmosphere, there weren't many palpable success signs.

I don't think there's a consensus on what the farmers are asking from Vilsack in terms of pricing. My understanding is that a handful of big, corporate dairy producers have entered the market in recent years, driving down the price of milk. Some farmers are demanding, as you say, a pricing mechanism that would set a floor for the price for milk, but not everyone at the rally was talking about that. The thing they discussed the most was enforcement -- government crackdown on the big factory farms that enjoy organic certification without conforming to the federal organic standards.

July 20, 2009 | Registered CommenterOrganicNation.tv

Thank you for capturing and sharing this out, Mark. I think you captured the feeling of the event, even through phots & voice recorder. Where can we get more information or petition for our government to crackdown on big factory farms? Also, is there a site we can use to find local small, organic farms to purchase our dairy from? Even if gov doesn't crack down, we can make a decision on where to invest our own dollars.

July 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCharl Pearce

Thanks for your comment Charl! Yes, you can petition the government here: http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/
Also, http://www.localharvest.org/ is a great resource for finding local organic farms in your area, you can search for farms, CSAs, farmer's markets and Co-ops there. Good luck and let us know if you have any more questions!

July 24, 2009 | Registered CommenterOrganicNation.tv

One more horrible instance of how our democracy has been captured by big business. Thanks for this. We need to publicize and publicize and publicize. But big business still has the money to make campaign contributions.

July 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Simon Lakehomer

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