TOEFL Sample Essay -

Question: The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a Batavia newspaper.
“The department of agriculture in Batavia reports that the number of dairy farms throughout the country is now 25 percent greater than it was 10 years ago. During this same time period, however, the price of milk at the local Excello Food Market has increased from $1.50 to over $3.00 per gallon. To prevent farmers from continuing to receive excessive profits on an apparently increased supply of milk, the Batavia government should begin to regulate retail milk prices. Such regulation is necessary to ensure fair prices for consumers.”
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.


The letter asserts that the Batavia government should regulate retail prices of milk so that consumers get milk at a normalized rate. The letter further cites that, there has been an increase of twenty-five percent in dairy farms in past ten years, still the prices of milk have increased. Though, the argument seems convincing at the first glance, upon closer scrutiny it is found to be rife with assumptions for which no substantial evidence has been provided.
Firstly, the letter considers the milk price increase from $1.5 to $3 to be exorbitant and unnecessary; however no evidential proof for the same has been furnished. There is a possibility that the price of milk increased as the farmers have to pay extra for the transportation of milk from the farm to the market. The cost of fodder and maintaining the farm might have sky-rocketed forcing the farmers to increase the price. In this situation, the author’s claim is significantly weak and the farmers are not earning an increased profit. The author needs to find the real reason through analysis and research of the farms. This will help in understanding the actual cause behind the price increase as well as help us in further evaluating the claim.
Moreover, the letter asserts that a twenty-five percent increase in dairy farm means the milk is being produced in abundance; thus, the farmers should reduce the price. The argument stated in this way does not stand any solid ground. There is a possibility that the population of Batavia has increased significantly in the last ten years. Therefore, the ratio between milk produced and the population is still the same. In this circumstance, it is imprudent to assume that farmers are making a good profit. The situation might be reversed and they are still struggling to cope up with the population pressure. The author needs to provide statistical and numerical data co-relating the population increase and dairy products quantity increase. This will aid us in evaluating the claim.
In addition to this, the letter states that the increase in price is unwarranted. Nonetheless, there is a possibility that the price is quite moderate in relation to the taxes that the sellers need to pay to the government. In this circumstance, it is justified that the farmers increased their prices in order to live an economically stable life and pay taxes to the government. It is possible that the price is moderate in relation to the salary earned by the people of Batavia today. The correlation between people’s income and the price of milk is still the same as it was ten years back. The author is required to dwell deeper into the economic status of Batavia citizens and then draw a conclusion regarding the price of milk.
In conclusion, the letters claim might have some merits, but stated in this way it fails to give a view of a firm argument. The author further needs to study the relationship between people’s income and milk price. The author also needs to find out the real reason for the increase in price and the correlation between population and milk produced. This will aid in fixing a lot of fissures and misses of the argument. Thus, strengthening the claim. At this point, the argument is too weak to be trusted.


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