First, I am a Braves fan. I’ve written of my devotion to Atlanta’s major league baseball team before. (Click here to read my 2009 editorial "Recharged by the Tomahawk Chop.")

Cooley walt polo
Editor and Podcast Host / Progressive Dairy

Historic disappointment followed the end of this year’s Braves’ season. The team squandered an eight-and-a-half game lead for the league’s wild card playoff spot. The only consolation is the Boston Red Sox did the same thing. (I feel your pain, Boston fans.)

Congrats to the Cardinals and Rays. Their comebacks were historic. However, what was most interesting to me was how unlikely Cardinals fans thought the rally was as it was unfolding. I witnessed it personally.

During the Cardinals last regular season home series against the Cubs, I was in St. Louis for AABP’s annual convention. I sat in left field for the first game of the series, in which the Cubs beat St. Louis on a three-run, go-ahead home run in the eighth inning.

The day before, the Cardinals blew a four-run lead at home in the ninth inning to lose to the Mets. The Cardinals fan sitting behind me said that if his team would have won that game he would have believed they could still make the playoffs. But now it was “fate” the team was losing to its rival.


On my plane ride home, I overheard a Cardinals fan errantly tell another passenger that the Cardinals’ last series away against the basement-dwelling Houston Astros would be more difficult than the Braves’ series against the league-leading Phillies. I was shocked by the pessimism in what most baseball followers would say was a definite Cardinals advantage.

The Braves lost their last three. The Cardinals went 2-1.

At times, dairymen count themselves out just as much as Cardinal fans do their surging team. Watching the CME will do that.

Feed prices aren’t coming down and may go up. Summer’s milk price highs have softened a bit. U.S. herd numbers continue to be high.

But as much as everyone says 2012 looks like it could be another 2009, I’m not ready to say all the factors exist to make it another historically low year. A slower year? Possible. But don’t count out the U.S. dairy industry.

By now we should already expect volatility in feed prices. Demand has softened, but hasn’t fallen off a cliff like it did in 2009. And climbing herd numbers, and looming oversupply, could be a manufactured result of a national discussion about mandatory supply management.

Now that NMPF’s dairy reform plan won’t require agreeing with supply management to support it, perhaps pressure to fill up barns in the West will diminish some. Getting dairy reform done quickly would certainly remove market uncertainty.

This issue we closed our poll asking if you support FFTF and its mandatory supply management. ( Click here to see results. )

Now we ask if you support House Bill 3062, “The Dairy Security Act of 2011,” that will still replace MILC with margin insurance but will only require supply management for those who take government insurance.

Is this plan better? I’m most interested to compare the two polls’ results. Click here to weigh in. PD