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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dairy Farms in Crisis

This is a reminder of why I support Farm Aid.

Crisis has hit the dairy industry and hit it hard. While small dairies, like the majority of those found in Wisconsin, are most vulnerable to fluctuations in the market, the dairy crisis is being felt across the nation, in every region and on every farm. You are right to think that such a collapse in the industry would at least translate into lower consumer costs at the supermarket. Yet, as you've noticed, milk prices have hardly begun to budge.

The simple story behind the dairy crisis is that the industry is drowning in milk, the result of a catastrophic convergence of factors beyond farmer control. The global economic downturn has significantly soured demand for milk and milk products; farmers are struggling to pay bills from record high feed and fuel costs this past summer; adequate credit is increasingly impossible to come by; and, to top things off, the price of milk paid to farmers by processors collapsed a record 30% in January alone, and 50% since July. With little relief in sight, the price of milk is projected to continue this decline throughout 2009 before making even a slight recovery.

To pull this into perspective: a hundred weight (cwt) of fluid milk, about 11.8 gallons, is currently selling for as low as $9, but just to break even a dairy farmer needs to make at least $20-25. Read the entire article here>>>

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Marina said...

Milk prices have actually gone up around here, by 50 cents/gallon. Our local brand has the nerve to brag that they are still 50 cents cheaper than a national brand. Am wondering if powdered milk might be a more economical alternative?

Phelan said...

Ours have gone up in prices as well. This article was written last year, so some of it is a little off as for current, but the crisis is still going on. Have you tried to find raw? Can you in Texas?

Are you here for the long haul doll?

The Thinker said...

What do you do with all the milk you get from your cows, P?

Do you sell it or drink it? Make butter or cheese?

I have looked around all over the place around here (MS) to find a place to get raw milk. So far, if anyone will talk to me at all about it, it is prohibitively expensive. For me, that is.

Marina said...

Haven't checked before today, but according to, there's a few places within an hour or so from here.

Will be here as long/often as I can, but since weekends are hell re: the husband, I'm not sure how long I'll last.

Phelan said...

The Thinker, state law prohibits my telling you that I sell raw milk. It could be seen as advertising off property, even if the seller is sitting in their own house while writing. I make cheese, and ice cream, and sauces and so forth. . . The cost can be a little high. Look into a cow share, it might be a little better, but you have to have a chunk of money up front.

Marina, stop by when you can, give the little ones a squeeze and tell the ole man to bugger off!

The Thinker said...

Well, that may explain why no one will talk to me about it! :)

Phelan said...

Check here to see what the laws are in your state.

Some places out right ban the sale of raw milk. Here we are not allowed to do anything but place a sign in our yard, but people/customers are allowed to talk about it.

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