It was easy to conclude the survey results well before the November 2 press release even landed in our electronic in-basket via email.
“Opposition to Trans-Pacific Partnership evident in dairy producer survey” read the headline.
“Nearly 80 percent of the respondents favored Congress rejecting or placing a moratorium on the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) in its current form until concerns over imported Milk Protein Concentrates (MPCs) and other low-cost imports are resolved,” stated the press release from the Wisconsin Farmers Union.
We agree that 80 percent on a survey is a high number.
However, how that 80 percent number was derived deserves to see the light of day.
As many know, Hoard’s Dairyman has operated the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm since 1899. That being the case, we too received a copy of the survey from the Wisconsin Farmers Union this summer.
Question 16 on the survey read like this:
16) Should members of Congress reject or place a moratorium on the Trans-Pacific Partnership until concerns about imported Milk Protein Concentrates and other low-costs imports have been resolved?
The wording of the question alone would cause many respondents to answer — Yes.
However, survey writers went one step further to secure the desired answer to that question . . . in our opinion.
Immediately below question 16, the following paragraph read:
The TPP includes three known currency manipulators: Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia. These countries use state-owned banks to buy up U.S. dollars, so that their currencies stay cheap and the U.S. dollar stays expensive. The TPP contains voluntary measures, but no binding provisions, to curtail currency manipulation. Currency manipulation drives up our trade defcit (editor’s note, actual spelling), reduces our Gross Domestic Product by hundreds of billions of dollars, undermines U.S. job growth, and increases the U.S. federal defcit. (Actual spelling is deficit. After downloading, grammar specialists will notice a number of additional spelling errors.)
With that explanatory, we are shocked the survey results didn’t come back at 99 percent versus the 80 percent from the 1,000 respondents.
What would have been the response had the survey question read like this:
16). Should members of Congress accept the Trans-Pacific Partnership because America now exports 14 to 16 percent of its milk production?
Explanation: Over the past 20 years, the U.S. dairy industry has grown dairy exports from 3 to 4 percent to 14 to 16 percent of its milk production. During this time, U.S. dairy exports have grown without the aid of the U.S. government. With the ratification of the TPP, the U.S. stands to further grow dairy exports with some of its largest customers including Japan, Vietnam, and Singapore. These countries have all agreed to be apart of the TPP. Without trade, this additional milk, 14 to 16 percent of total U.S. milk production, would have to be absorbed by our domestic market, likely sending prices downward.
You be the judge of what the result may have been.
We think the response would have supported dairy trade.
For the sake of a full discussion on the survey results, you may click on the link Wisconsin Dairy Producer Survey Summer 2016 to review the survey.
While we applaud the Wisconsin Farmers Union for conducting the survey that had a reported 1,000 responses, the survey appeared to be written to get the desired results.
What do you think?
Decide for yourself.To read the final analysis from the Wisconsin Farmers Union, follow this link to survey results.
To comment, email your remarks to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2016
November 28, 2016