6/16 Letters to the editor

Dairy Farmers officer: Story was wrong
We were deeply troubled by your June 7 article about Dairy Farmers of America (DFA). It was completely incorrect and misrepresented DFA’s source, Walter Bradley. We must set the record straight because our relationships with the Southwest’s haulers, dairy farmers, milk cooperatives, trucking firms and the Portales and Clovis communities are important to our farmer-owners.

DFA is not working on a merger to expand the number of trucks used by our milk contractor, Milk Transport Services (MTS). MTS is a joint venture between DFA and CTL, a company with offices in Stephenville, Texas, and Cabool, Mo. David Shelton, general manager, says MTS has no plans to change its fleet size and will continue to conduct business as usual.

The article falsely reported that DFA and MTS are negotiating with other milk transport companies. No such discussions are under way.

What is happening? It’s pretty simple. The region’s cooperatives, which market their milk through a common marketing agency, the Greater Southwest Agency, are exploring ways to improve efficiencies in milk transportation. Agency members — DFA, Select Milk Producers, Zia Milk Producers and Lone Star Milk Producers — want to create a new business structure that allows them to strengthen their trucking relationships, streamline schedules and generate savings for farmers (who pay for hauling).

“Working together” on behalf of farmers is not new to these co-ops, which partnered with Glanbia, to build the Southwest Cheese plant outside Clovis. The timing is perfect for such discussions because when Southwest Cheese opens, a significant volume of locally produced milk, which currently travels hundreds of miles to market, will go to the plant, thus reducing freight charges and miles traveled.

It’s very hard to understand how this story went so astray. DFA apologizes to its respected business partners, haulers and farmers for the confusion it caused.

David Jones
Southwest Area
Chief Operating Officer
Dairy Farmers of America

BRAC decision poses public health risk
The current wisdom in the community is that the Pentagon made “mistakes” in its evaluation of assets at Cannon Air Force Base. This decision was made despite clear evidence that CAFB has significant military value in comparison to other F-16 bases by the criteria set forth in the BRAC process.

The fact that the Department of Defense has not been forthcoming with its rationale suggests it is not confident enough to justify its critical judgments of Cannon’s assets in front of public scrutiny.

As chairman of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, Anthony Principi wisely noted that base closures have the effect of an “economic tsunami.” In Cannon’s case, this would amount to being at the epicenter of the earthquake.

It has been noted that Curry and Roosevelt counties would suffer more than double the economic impact of any other locality affected by 2005 BRAC.

Economic instability unquestionably leads to increases in mental illness, drug and alcohol use, domestic violence and crime. As an emergency room physician at Plains Regional Medical Center, I have significant concerns that the acute loss of 5,000 jobs will simply totally overwhelm our current mental and behavioral health infrastructure. Make no mistake, a mental and behavioral health crisis comes with high morbidity and mortality.

Is it fair that such negligence put this community at such a grave public health risk? We can only help the BRAC commission to see through the smoke and mirrors of the Defense Department’s weak rationale and politicizing. If this closure holds up, our community should never forget the administration under which reason yielded to unfair politics.

Dr. Jamie Felberg