Dairy Farmers Getting "Milked"

US - What do you think's more expensive? A gallon of gas or a gallon of milk? Well believe it or not, at around $4.00, it's milk.
calendar icon 20 August 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
According to a recent study by the Univeristy of Georgia on dairy production, the cost of milk has gone up 20 percent since this past winter, soaring from $3.29 a gallon to $3.99 a gallon.

And it's expected to go up even more come fall.

That's because this summer, Central Georgia and most of the Southeast has seen a reduction in the milk supply.

The Georgia Milk Producers Association says three factors have caused the reduction:

  • The record-setting high temperatures. Cows don't produce as much milk in the heat.
  • The rising costs of production. Feed prices have nearly doubled due to the expansion of ethanol plants.
  • And the decline of dairy farmers. In 2000, GA had over 400 dairy farmers; today there's only about 250 .
One dairy farmer from Putnam County says he wishes more people would grind it out and not give up on the business.

"There's too much investment in a dairy farm for folks just to break even," said Bob Patrick of Eatonton Dairy Farms. "It's a struggle, but we've weathered this before."

Patrick, who oversees the feeding and milking of 800 cows daily, says the inconsistency of the business, both in terms of fluctuating costs for production and supplies, and unpredictable weather, makes it a challenge for any dairy farmer to turn a profit year-to-year.

"Two years ago, we were at rock bottom with milk prices and struggling to pay bills," he said. "And now this year, we'll be able to catch up a little bit, maybe get some money in the bank."

Source: 13WMAZ.com
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