WILL I BE APPOINTED TO THE DAIRY BOARD?
I recently asked you to send letters to Mr. McKee of USDA,
asking him to appoint me as a member of America's Dairy
Board. Although USDA appoints members, the board has
completely been taken over by the dairy industry. Although
over 200 of you sent letters requesting that I be made a
member of that committee, I stand a better chance of
appearing in Sports Illustrated wearing a milk mustache than
I do receiving a government appointment to the Dairy Board.
This is no government organization, as internal documents
The Dairy Board's mission, as set by an act of Congress, is
to promote milk marketing and dairy safety. I have learned
that the 2002 meeting, held in the New Orleans Sheraton, was
a rah-rah session run by two major dairy organizations, UDIA
(United Dairymen) and DMI (Dairy Marketing International),
the organization which sponsored last year's dairy-insider
Calcium Summit. An internal memo that I have in my
possession reveals that the summit, held in a government
building, was closed to vegetarian groups and vegetarian-
This week, after receiving confidential information, I filed
the following Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) for all
USDA documents pertaining to this recent Dairy Board
June 7, 2002
1400 Independence Ave. SW, Room 2958-S
Washington, DC 20250-0233
RE: Dairy Board
Dear Mr. Johnson:
I respectfully request a transcript or actual
copy of the audio tape that recorded the 1/22-24/02
meeting of the Dairy Board in New Orleans,
Louisiana that I understand is in your possession.
In addition, I would like a copy of the minutes
of that session, and any and all correspondence
regarding Dairy Board business for the previous
I have heard rumors that specific animal rights
groups have been mentioned and targeted as threats
by the Dairy Board. Since the milk check-off
program finances DMI operations, I respectfully
request all documents at DMI, the Dairy Council,
and the Dairy Board pertaining to PETA, PCRM, and
other animal rights organizations.
I discussed the Dairy Board with one
friendly USDA official, Bill Taylor
"Are Dairy Board meetings open to the public?"
"No, generally not."
"Why then, did so many officials of the
dairy industry attend that last meeting
along with the delegates appointed by
Mr. Taylor responded:
"Our role here at USDA is to try to see
that Dairy Board performs within the
scope of the law."
I then called one of the attendees,
Wayne Watkinson, Esq. (McLeod, Watkinson,
amd Miller). Mr. Watkinson was not in,
so I spoke to an unnamed secretary, and asked:
"Does your law firm represent the dairy
"Yes, we do."
USDA has 180 days to respond to my FOIA request.
I have it on good authority (yes, I have the
evidence) that the Dairy Board and dairy industry
representatives plotted and planned against one
or more animal rights groups during their session.
To do so within a quasi-judicial government
committee goes way beyond the ethical, approaching