At the end of April, we began a one-of-a-kind Progressive Dairyman straw poll, asking dairy producers to evaluate and choose the dairy reform plan they support most for needed industry reform.

Why did we do it? 2009 was an extreme low milk price year. Producers drained their equity to survive. By the time prices pulled upward, most felt beat up, used and abused. Ideas for reforming dairy pricing policy that previously lacked traction rekindled interest.

Support groups and special interest communities formed. Our editors felt the need to help producers better understand the main issues of concern and how some proposed to fix them. This was the goal of the poll.

Let us be clear that this poll was not intended to be the end-all of discussion about which plan is best for our industry, nor does Progressive Dairyman endorse any one plan above another. Rather, we have attempted to serve once again as a forum of discussion for ideas and progress.

We have received many votes and comments about our straw poll. Some have expressed their concern about its scientific reliability. Please understand this poll has been conducted on a small budget to meet the aims previously discussed. We have made an honorable attempt to mediate the results and those who have participated.


Votes were recorded via mail, fax, e-mail and online voting. Online votes were tracked by IP address and cookies were used to permit only one vote per computer. (Some attempted to erase cookies from their computer and vote multiple times. To the best of our ability, we tracked and deleted suspected multiple-vote abusers.)

We are aware that supporters for the plan receiving the most votes in our poll (the Specter-Casey Bill) have been reporting the results as an authoritative survey which purportedly ends the need for further discussion. This is far from reality. Even more debate is needed. I would encourage reading the story by clicking here , which explains much of the reason for the Specter-Casey Bill finishing in front.

What we have learned from this poll is that consumers are willing to listen to dairy producers and even contact their elected leaders in Washington, D.C. There is still time for resolved producers to influence the minds and hearts of constituents throughout the country. Dairymen are not just members of the community but an integral part of their local economy. One highlight that can be gleaned from our poll response is that dairymen can help get reform moving.

Are you decided what plan you will support? This is the follow-up poll question we have asked this issue. If you have not decided, I strongly encourage you to study the proposed options, even beyond the three most well-publicized plans. You can find detailed information about each of these plans and others on our website. Contact the plan’s organizers to get more information.

Progressive Dairyman is committed to continuing coverage of dairy reform. We aim to maintain conversation about dairy reform until tangible change has been made for our industry. We hope many more will begin to participate and lobby for that end goal. PD