Dear oh dear!
Does anyone else feel that Sarah’s recent change of heart about the Mat-Maid Dairy is based on information at least as obscured from public view as the basis for the extraordinary swings in the dairy’s financial condition?
Alaskans are happy to purchase local milk and milk products at a premium price, but what continues to get my goat is that the Dairy could lose so much money. Compare the Mat-Maid mess with petrochemical prices; are our Alaskan refineries losing money? Not in this lifetime! Even if Mat-Maid was only selling milk from Outside, the public has a right to understand how so much money could be lost packaging milk products here, as opposed to packaging them in Oregon, Minnesota or Iowa.
Perhaps it is time for the Alaska Dairy Industry to focus exclusively on local value-added product. Things like high-end yogurts (with wild raspberries and blueberries), cheeses (why should we import cheese from Italy, Holland, etc.) and coffee additives (the suppliers of latte junkies have already indicated an interest in half and half and cream.)
But before we write off Mat-Maid, we need a full accounting so that we understand what went wrong. Then we can add this experience to the other annals of Alaska economic history (this can sit right next to the explanation of why the fish plant became a church on my bookshelf) so that at some point someone might have reason to pause in the middle of some pork fit and contemplate just what is being done with Alaska resources.