Aid Barely Enough To Keep Mass. Dairies In Business

US - It’s about 1:30 p.m., and Darryl Williams is finishing lunch. He was told that cutting down on milk might help ease his migraines, so the dairy farmer had a glass of water with his salad.
calendar icon 18 June 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
He has spent the past eight hours milking cows, helping a veterinarian do pregnancy checks on his herd and fixing a tractor. He still needs to spread some manure and get through another milking in the afternoon on the 175-acre farm that has been in his family for 346 years.

The migraines aren’t bothering him today, but the 47-year-old has other headaches to deal with — such as the $10,000 bill the mailman just delivered for corn seed.

He looks at the bill and says goodbye to more than half of the $19,000 he’s expecting from an emergency state payout to dairy farmers who suffered some $18 million in losses last year. His share of that loss was $50,000.

“It will take us two years to dig out of last year’s hole,” he said. “And once we get out, there will be another hole.”

The Northeast dairy industry has been declining for the past quarter century. In 1980, there were 829 dairy farms in Massachusetts. Today, there are 179. But 2006 was the worst year yet for farmers like Williams, who say the rising costs of fuel, feed and fertilizer have far outpaced what they’re paid for a gallon of milk.

Source: Worcester Telegram
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.