On June 26th, Maple with her drivers, Henk and Bettina Schuurmans of the Milky Wave stopped in to say hello to the Wawa Goose. She explained to our Goose, that she was headed out west on tour. Their mission was to see Canada, and raise awareness of how Canada’s milk supply management system works and is now under threat from the US.
The Canadian milk supply system, balances the supply of milk with the demand, creating a system that allows for the survival of small dairy farms. In contrast, the American system encourages production, overproduction and dropping prices below the cost of production. Small dairy farms cannot compete, so the huge dairy farms are the only ones to survive. From NBC News story ‘Best advice to U.S. dairy farmers? ‘Sell out as fast as you can’ ‘, “On average, farmers spend $1.92 to produce a gallon of milk and make $1.32 when they sell it to processors. This is the fourth year in a row that farmers’ milk prices have dipped below the cost of production.”
Travelling at a slow pace, about 40km/hr, Henk and Bettina are enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Canada in their open cab John Deere 6430 Tractor. Although prepared to tent, they have met a lot of people who have generously offered the trio a place to stay overnight.
While they are on the road, Henk and Bettina’s children are looking after the family farm. Henk, grinned and said that this was a test to see if they could retire – and he had no worries. Their children are the tenth generation of dairy farmers, with their roots in Holland.