Friday, September 25, 2009

A Dream Becomes a Reality...revisited

I just came across this post that I blogged a couple of months ago. It seems ironic to me now that my title was "A dream becomes a reality." It seems like the more appropriate title now would be "A dream becomes a nightmare." The dairy industry is currently stuck in the worst downturn the industry has seen. I have seen people's lifetimes of hard work and sweat equity vanish. My father, father-in-law, uncles, brother, cousins are all dairyman. I talk to dairymen in my job everyday and for some, they are on their last breath of hope right now. One of my husband's family members decided that the pain was so bad that he took his own life. I've seen my husband struggle with the fact that his dreams are not going to come true. I've heard it in my dad's voice, seen it in my uncle's face, felt the tension and fear.

It costs a dairyman $13-$15 to produce one hundred weight (cwt/100 pounds) of milk. The average milk price that the dairyman have been receiving this year has been $10.29 per cwt. Dairyman have no control over the price that they get paid for their milk (unless they hedge, which is not easy to do especially here in CA). The average price that you pay at the grocery store for a gallon of milk today is $3.50, up 28% from 2008. The price that the dairyman who produced that milk gets paid has decreased approximately 40% from 2008.

There are many factors that have led to this downturn including over-production, imports/exports, etc. but I am not an expert on that. I am just a daughter, a wife, a niece, a cousin and a friend to dairy farmers who wants to make sure their story is heard.

There are many far more intelligent and dedicated people out there working to come up with a solution for the problem. If you are interested in more information, check out Barbara's blog here. She is an amazing dairywoman and advocate for the industry.

If nothing else, please tell any dairyman you know that you appreciate their hardwork and strength. And please always focus on the beautiful, good things in your life - your loved ones, your health and the gift of another day to live.

These pictures depict the realization of my dad's dream...enjoy and thanks for reading!


Lisa said...

Poor Eddie! he's got to be exhausted. So much happening to the Avila's :)
Congrats on everything! Wish we were there.

Deene Souza said...

Isn't this what photography is all about? You did a great job capturing a dream come true. The pictures I took the day our first "clients" arrived on the heifer ranch Tim built are some of my favorite pictures in the world. Congratulations to your family on their success! i hope prosperous times are imminent for them soon! :)

Ms. V. said...

I was on your site today, and again tonight. You have captured the Valley in all of it's essence.

Please stay in touch with info on your amazing photography. The people: I just want to touch the photos.

Beautiful...I'm a long time Valley girl, and you make me miss that area.