Support Independent Dairy
Congress has decided to raise the cost of milk by driving Hein Hettinga out of business. Hettinga, an independent dairyman, has been targeted and punished for trying to keep the price of milk low.
In 2006, Congress punished Hettinga by a special-interest bill passed at the behest of the largest companies in the dairy industry. Without a hearing in either House, Congress eliminated Hettinga’s independent status, forcing him to share his revenues with his direct competitors. The result is that milk prices remain artificially high, consumers suffer, and an independent dairy farmer is at risk of losing his family business.
“Taking on Big Milk”
Dairy Industry Crushed Innovator Who Bested Price-Control System “Taking on Big Milk”
By Dan Morgan, Sarah Cohen and Gilbert M. Gaul
Washington Post Staff Writers
For three years, starting in 2003, a coalition of milk companies and dairies lobbied to crush an initiative by a maverick Arizona dairyman. Hein Hettinga chose to work outside the rigid system that has controlled U.S. milk production for almost 70 years. The milk lobby said he presented unfair competition because he chose to operate without federal price control. Hettinga fought back but was outgunned on the Hill. In March, Congress passed a bill that effectively ended his experiment.
In the summer of 2003, shoppers in Southern California began getting a break on the price of milk.
A maverick dairyman named Hein Hettinga started bottling his own milk and selling it for as much as 20 cents a gallon less than the competition, exercising his right to work outside the rigid system that has controlled U.S. milk production for almost 70 years. Soon the effects were rippling through the state, helping to hold down retail prices at supermarkets and warehouse stores.