With the wholesale price of milk at a 30-year low, Gossner Foods recently awarded $2.5 million in bonuses to its’ producers. How is that possible?”It’s not easy,” said Gossner CEO Delores Wheeler, “but our sales have been good because people are buying dairy products. And that is because the prices have been low. We’ve just been trying to cut corners and keep our prices as good as we could so that we could pass everything we can back to our producers. We also have given bonuses to our employees – not that they have had less hours working – but a lot of them have spouses who have lost their jobs.”A decision by the U.S. Military to award a dairy contract to an overseas firm has not been accepted well by domestic dairy producers.”We’ve been very upset over that,” said Wheeler, “and we’ve been fighting it ever since we found out our milk was not going with our troops. Some of them, when they first went over there, got our milk, and they loved it. It’s something from home and it’s good.”Then we found out they were getting it out of Kuwait and we have been fighting that with everybody we can think of. Our soldiers over there should have products from America. So even though we have the military contract, it does not go to where most of the troops are.”Wheeler said we need to realize how important the dairy farmers, and all farmers, are to America.”That fact is getting lost,” she said. “They talk about helping everybody else but I tell you what: if we don’t have enough food to eat, people will suddenly wake up and realize there aren’t any farmers. By that time it’s going to be too late.”Everybody has this idea that we just go to the store to get food, but they forget where it comes from. They need to talk to congress. It’s sad to realize that there’s such a small percentage of people that produce all our food and it’s forgotten how important they are.”Wheeler said it worries her because she fears we are going to lose farmers because they’re going in the hole every day. She said the farmers appreciated the bonus checks but she compares it to putting a band-aid on an artery bleed.”It’s not enough and there’s only so much we can do. It’s a huge amount of money but when you divide it up among all of our farmers, it’s certainly not going to solve the problem.”Recently Gossners combined with about 80 farmers to send two truckloads of goodies to Utah’s 96th Sustainment Brigade, which left in July for deployment near Baghdad. The shipment includes the company’s Ultra High Temperature (UHT) milk, which needs no refrigeration.”It just shows the type of people these farmers are that when they’re hurting as badly as they are, they still donate.”
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