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PROCEEDINGS OF THE WORLD'S DAIRY CONGRESS.
I would be recreant to my sense of justice and duty if I did not at this time emphasize again what I have said on many occasions, namely, that this great work of the National Dairy Council would be hopelessly lost were it not for the fact that these young men and women engaged in doing this great educational work of the council are inspired by a wonderful ideal of service. They are so deeply interested and absorbed in their work, they so realize its vital importance to those with whom they live and the children that are coming on, that it seems almost as though a Divine Providence had said to them, “Go, thou, and do this work for Me."
It is these young men and women who have made the work of the National Dairy Council a success, and who are bringing these results forward so splendidly.
Chairman STANLEY. Have you any questions which you would like to ask Mr. Munn before he escapes?
We have now just five minutes for discussion. Has anyone a very important question he would like to bring up? We should have to limit the discussion to one minute, I think.
Mrs. Watson (Montreal, Canada). I'd like to know if it is good to give children milk in the form of puddings; any kind of puddings.
Chairman STANLEY. Mrs. Watson asked a very pertinent question, that we shouldn't emphasize the use of raw milk. She has asked whether it is just as valuable to give it in other forms. Will you answer the question, Doctor Brown?
Doctor Brown. While we are agitating very widely the consumption of fluid milk, anyone working actually with children knows that you have to advocate mixing it. As to your direct question, I undoubtedly feel that substitution in cooking is an important thing if you get the milk into the child and into adults in some way.
Chairman STANLEY. Are there any other questions? If not, I think that concludes our session this morning.
SESSION 14. COOPERATIVE MARKETING OF MILK.
Honorary chairman, A. POOLE Wilson, chief inspector of dairying, Department
of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, Ireland. Chairman, F. P. Willits, secretary, Pennsylvania State Department of
Agriculture. Secretary, GEORGE P. GROUT, head of the department of dairy husbandry, Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.
STRAND THEATER, Syracuse, N. Y., Monday, October 8, 1923—9.30 a. m. Chairman Willits. The meeting will please come to order.
The first paper will be by R. Manod Owen on “Cooperative dairying.” [Applause.]
R. MANOD OWEN, dairy organizer, Welsh Agricultural Organization Society,
Llagerniew, Abergele, Wales.
Successful cooperative dairying is guided by certain principles, the adherence to which insures success whilst departure from them invariably leads to failure.
Let me enumerate a few of these principles :
I. A cooperative dairy should be a purely farmer's or milk producer's society. No one should be admitted as a member who does not possess, at least, one cow. If nonmilk producers are admitted as shareholders, or members, their interests are bound sooner or later to clash, and trouble follows. I have known of several societies which have come to grief on this rock.
II. A cooperative dairy does not buy milk.-It ceases to be cloperative if it does do so. This principle should be clearly understood-it means that a society can not promise in advance a definite price for the milk supplied. "The milk is only received by the society for cooperative treatment and sale, and until the sale is effected and the costs of management ascertained, the ultimate value of the milk supplied to the dairy can not be known. Before paying out, whether it be fortnightly or monthly, the average selling price should be ascertained and a part payment made to the suppliers equal to threefourths of the average selling price. Thus, if the average sale price for the month has been 1 shilling per gallon (approximately 10 pounds of milk) you would pay out 9 pence per 10 pounds or 7 shillings 6 pence per 100 pounds for milk which contains normal butterfats, say 3.5 per cent. If a supplier sends in milk which is 3.6 per cent he would get 7 shillings 8 pence; 3.7 per cent, 7 shillings 10 pence; and so on. Two pence per point is added for milk above 3.5 per cent and milk below 3.5 per cent is reduced by 2 pence per point. The one-fourth retained is, after providing for interest and
reserve, divided out annually to the suppliers on the basis of quantity and quality supplied by each one during the year.
Ill. Interest on capital must be a fixed interest of, say, 5 per cent.My practical experience in cooperative dairying is in the main confined to my own country-Wales and my experience teaches that there must be no deviation from the foregoing principles if a cooperative dairy is to succeed.
Prior to 1917 cooperative dairying was, with one or two exceptions, unknown in Wales. In that year the Ministry of Agriculture introduced a scheme which has done an immense amount of valuable educational work as regards the value of cooperative effort. The scheme provides a demonstration-loaning the utensils and a qualified instructor to any rural district prepared to provide a suitable building and the requisite quantity of milk daily, for a period of not less than three months.
Somewhere about 40 centers in North Wales alone availed themselves of the scheme, and from these demonstrations has sprung a number of duly registered cooperative dairies having a central scheme of accountancy and control.
The capital is raised by the issue of £1 shares.
Cooperative dairying is a great boon to the small farmer, of which my country is largely made up. In point of fact, it is his only salvation. The large farmer by virtue of his greater production is independent of the economic problems of adequate equipment and transport facilities, whilst the small farmer is solely dependent on the cooperation with his neighbors to overcome these difficulties.
May I illustrate this by describing one of our typical cooperative dairies, of which I happen to be the secretary?
Our village is situated at the head of the beautiful vale of Elwy in Denbighshire, some 700 feet above the sea level and 10 miles from the nearest railway station. It is the month of May, and the morning is fine. At 7 o'clock vehicles of every description begin to roll in with the milk from 30 or 40 farms, within a radius of 2 or 3 miles. By 8 o'clock the last supplier has arrived. One hour is allowed for delivery. The hour has been full of incident and great good humor. Frequently much more business has been done than that of merely delivering the milk and taking back a supply of whey or separated milk. Many a bargain has been struck and appointments made.
“I'll see you at the factory in the morning" has become a byword here and has excited the muse of our local poet, the result being a popular song of which this phrase is the burden:“I'll see you at the factory in the morning."
Our dairy is equipped to deal with 600 gallons per day. Some of the 30 or 40 suppliers bring in as little as 10 pounds of milk, and the highest is seldom over 400 pounds. Every supplier receives a receipt the duplicate of which is sent to head office. Every supplier's milk is sampled. The point I want to emphasize is that it is only by a cooperative effort that the small farmer can possibly overcome the economic difficulty of the 10 miles transport of his milk or milk products, and it is only by a cooperative effort that he can economically equip and engage competent hands for the treatment of his milk and the manufacture of his milk products.
There are many advantages besides the foregoing which the producer reaps from cooperative dairying.
He benefits by the reduction of the work at home on the farm and from the troubles and worries of marketing.
This benefit enables the farmer to concentrate more on production and it emancipates to a great extent his womenfolk. The primitive method of hitching his horse to the trap to take a few pounds of butter on market day 10 miles distant, to spend the day heckling over the price, may be picturesque, but it is certainly not economical either to himself or the consumer. His market is broadened by a cooperative effort. Without it he is limited to his local market town; by its aid bigger and better markets come within his reach, for cooperatively he has more to sell, more bulk, whether it be liquid milk or milk products; it is a bulk sufficient to entice the notice of the great wholesale buyers and distributors.
But perhaps the greatest benefit to the producer is that by a cooperative effort he secures that which the best markets demand.
UNIFORMITY OF QUALITY.
The great drawback hitherto with Welsh dairy products has been lack of uniformity of quality. How could it be otherwise when each farm treated its own milk in its own way, and often under great difficulties lack of a proper water supply, lack of a trained dairymaid, and an inadequate dairy, badly equipped.
May I again illustrate these advantages of a better market and uniformity of quality, from the experience of our cooperative dairy?
Prior to its establishment in 1917, its 40-odd members treated their milk at home. The amount then produced was naturally small, there being no outlet. No whole milk was ever put on the market. What little was produced was converted into butter or fed to young stock. Farming here had fallen into that rut known as farming with “ a dog and a stick,” which means that the whole of the land was practically given over to sheep.
Since 1917 this cooperative dairy sends milk daily to large centers of population 50 and 60 miles distant, and its cheese finds markets much farther afield. The sampling and testing and payment on grade secures quality and purity, and the cooperative treatment by a trained staff secures uniformity, and these two achievements secure a better market. That is our experience.
These are some of the advantages accruing to the producer from cooperative dairying. The advantages (or benefits) which the consumer reaps are obvious—improved quality, uniformity, and hygienic treatment under hygienic conditions, the reduction in cost of production, a part of which is undoubtedly passed on to him, and a steadier supply.
I am afraid my paper would be far too long were I to dwell upon the “national view” of cooperative dairying, the overcoming of the problem of “ sours.” It is said that the loss from milk turning sour in transit amounts to over half a million sterling per annum. I can see a remedy for the major part of this evil in cooperative dairying—that is, in the type of cooperative dairying that I am in touch with and advocate.
(1) I maintain that milk should be treated at the nearest point to production, if the “perfect product” is to be obtained. That is why I favor small village cooperative dairies to huge factories at from 10 to 20 miles distant from the point of production. No village or district is in my opinion properly equipped that is without its cooperative dairy. Milk is so delicate a product that it should be submitted to the least possible handling, and I hold that every mile it is jolted along the road damages it to some extent, and damaged milk can never be repaired.
(2) Milk is so essentially a national food that the industry should be highly organized and every available source of supply tapped in hill and dale, so that in the event of a crisis like that of 1914-1918 recurring, the nation should not be at the mercy of a haphazard supply of a badly organized industry. It may be argued that small village cooperative dairies are not a “ business proposition.” That five or six hundred gallons of milk per day will not warrant expensive equipment or an efficient staff.
That is not my experience. Expensive equipment is in my opinion largely unnecessary where cleanliness rules at the source of supply; and if this is backed up with an efficient staff and management, then village dairying becomes a sound business proposition.
Cooperative dairies of the type that obtains in Wales can and are worked under 2 pence per gallon. This 2 pence covers all expensesrent rates, taxes, wages, interest on capital, etc.
A staff of two can deal with 500 gallons per day during the cheese-making season, whilst one can easily manage during the winter milk selling period.
One of the difficulties that faced me at the outset was to find in a country village competent secretaries with a sufficient knowledge of accountancy to keep the books in proper order, and this difficulty led to the establishment of a scheme of central accountancy. We have now a central office with an efficient accountant in control that does all the accountancy for a penny in the pound on the turnover of a society.
If á society sells say £6,000 worth of milk and milk products during the year, then its accountancy would only cost £25. Daily returns are sent in from the dairies to the central office, at which all the principal books are kept, the dairy only being troubled with a triplicate milk receipt book, a cash and credit sales book, receipt book, and petty cash book. The books are all specially designed and standardized. Periodical visits are paid from the central office to inspect the local books and instruct the manager when necessary. In addition to the accountancy, the central office also buys in bulk, at wholesale prices, all dairy requisites in the interest of the dairies.
The central office also organizes a dairy show each year. These shows have been most successful, not only as an incentive to the dairies to improve production but also as a means of advertising the products to the consuming public.
The central office is careful not to replace local initative and interest, but rather to foster it. Cooperative dairying is essentially democratic as regards management, and under certain circumstances this virtue is a source of trouble which the central office is often called upon to correct.