What falling milk prices mean for local farmers


    Milk prices continue to fall across the United States.

    While that might mean more money in consumers' wallets, its taking money out of farmers' pockets.

    "This is the milk room we have two tanks in here. That one holds 600 gallons and this one holds 250.”

    Gary Weiman says dairy farms are becoming more of a challenge when it comes to business.

    But the amount of milk being produced isn't the problem.

    He says the production rate is up by 1.7 percent.

    Weiman says their biggest competition in the dairy business is foreign countries. For example, the European Union used to have regulations on how much dairy product they were able to produce yearly. Those regulations recently changed which has allowed the European union to produce at least five percent more product.

    Grain prices may be down but there are many other tools that come with a price when running a dairy farm.

    "Machinery and parts and fuel and energy and soaps to clean our equipment are basically the same or higher," said Weiman.

    The new trucking regulations could also increase transportation costs.

    Weiman says the dairy business is unique and a major commitment.

    "It’s kind of a long-term business. Takes a big investment in facilities and livestock and machinery and land and all of those things. So, it is not something you can get in and out of very easily," said Weiman.

    And although Weiman says you try and prepare for the bad years, he's optimistic and is hopeful for a relief in the years to come.

    "You try to put money aside and do things in the good years to weather the bad,” said Weiman. “The problem is in the world climate today, it's hard to get those good years."

    Below is a table from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on milk prices over the years.

    milk data.PNG

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