1
2
3
4
5
6
7
COOPERATING AGAINST THE MILK TRUST

Dr. Caroline Whitney and Meyer Parodneck, having earned the respect of both farmers and consumers alike, announced their "Program of Milk Consumers Protective Committee" in 1935. The program had seven specific goals that formed the foundation of the nascent CFMC:

  1. To divide milk control by either amending the price fixing law or abolishing it altogether

  2. To host consumer education conferences across the state

  3. To form 'Milk Consumers Cooperatives'

  4. To provide 8-cent milk

  5. To establish one milk grade, as opposed to the A and B system currently in place

  6. To open a 'municipal pasteurization plant to serve as a source of supply' for cooperatives and public welfare programs

  7. To 'set up joint committees with dairy farmers to promote their demands for adequate returns'13

By 1936, the Committee was in full operation and declared to citizens in a New York Times 'Letter to the Editor' that, "The Milk Consumers Protective Committee, a non-profit consumer's organization, hold that farmers can be paid far more than the 4 cents a quart which they actually receive, while consumers can enjoy lower prices than at present."14 Their earnest support of the farmer’s plight especially caught the attention of independent dairymen upstate. Mr. M. L. Smith answered Whitney's newspaper announcement in-kind by writing to the Editor that, "It may be that the Milk Consumers Protective Committee in your city can do much to improve [the farmer's] condition. We hope so. But I still believe that there can be no permanent or worth-while improvement, either economical or cultural, while such a large part of our population is kept groveling at this low level."15 The situation could only improve if the two parties came together.

Despite the Milk Bill’s restrictive grip on the market, the Dairy Farmers Union (DFU) – and organization of independent farmers – was established in 1936. Populist farmer Archie Wright, whose "analysis of the dairy industry was a mixture of Marx and Jefferson, with a bit of the Populist movement thrown in" led the group.16Meyer Parodneck, a suspected supporter of the Communist movement found common ground with Wright's principals. In 1938, the Special Investigation Committee on Un-American Activities named the Milk Consumers Protective Committee (and its leaders) a "communist-launched group."17 Parodneck said of his relationship with Wright that, "when you deal with a man whose judgment you enjoy and appreciate, and who could be useful to you besides, that's a natural alliance."18 The two quickly became fast friends and associates.