We started at MUH (get it? German Moo...) a farmer owned dairy cooperative founded in 1967. The cooperative consists of 2,600 farmers in a 250 km radius; they get milk from the five countries of Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France and Luxembourg. The company employes 770 employees and specializes in longlife milk products that are essentially sterilized. They recieve over 1,150 million kg of milk from their farmers. They produce a large number of products, 85% are private labels (i.e. King Soopers branded milk), with the remaining 15% branded as MUH. Their market is 50% UHT (Ultra high temperature milk), 17% evaporated milk, 15% cream and 8% flavored milk.
We then traveled two hours to the Landwirtschaftskammer Rhineland-Pfalz. It is a difficult organization to explain, but is essentially a quasi-governmental organization that is run by a board of 80 farmers to provide educatin on services. They are like our department of agriculture, check-off programs, marketing orders, department of health and extension all rolled into one organization. Members must pay a (tax) per acreage fee, so everyone is required to belong, then a board is elected from district representation and industry intrests. They provide education, landuse planning, inspeciton of wines, vines and plantings. They have promotional programs and recognition programs for their best wines. They also provide classes in food preparation, food safety, economics, assitance with on-farm food certification and assisting with banding small tracts of land into better utilized ground. They have a group that provides weekly market reports for inputs and commodities that is available to all farmers. Many of the services are provided to the landowners for free, however some services are added for a fee.
We the took the train to Frankfurt for the final leg of our trip.