Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Seeing both sides of the story

Milk has been cheap and in abundance lately, with prices dipping as low as 99 cents a gallon. While consumers rejoice in the affordability, local dairy producers are unable to make ends meet when the milk costs nearly $1.40 a gallon to produce. Since most of the milk is branded either by Shamrock or by the stores themselves, it's often easy to forget that the milk we drink is produced locally.

Not that many years ago, the heart of Mesa was covered by dairy farms and orange orchards. Mountain View used to be nicknamed "Mountain P.U." because of the smell of the surrounding diary farms. As Mesa has grown and developed, the farms have moved out of the center of our growing city, but still many remain in the outskirts, where some of the land is still "country" in comparison to Mesa's big city.

These farms create jobs and contribute to the local economy. However, the stable price in Milk combined with the rising government addiction to corn-based fuel has made the cost of running a dairy expensive. As these farms die off, not only are we losing a piece of Mesa's history, but we could be facing a milk shortage in the not-so distant future. Do they deserve a bailout? Not really, but this is a valuable lesson on how the actions of the government can have many unintended consequences.

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