Dairy farmers happy about high milk price - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dairy farmers happy about high milk price

May 25, 2004

Tifton- Misting fans help to cool down the dairy cows at the UGA Costal Plains Experiment Station, but they drive up the price of milk production.

"The cost to the dairyman is relatively high. Feed prices are high, fuel prices are high, and they have the basic cost of operation like electricity and things of that nature," says Dairy Expert Dr. Joe West.

He says South Georgia dairy farmers have an even higher cost of production because their cattle have to be protected from summer heat.

"They definitely need good milk prices if they are going to survive." West hopes the spiking milk prices will enable dairy farmers to start climbing out of the depressed state they've been in for months.

"It's been a tough economic climate for them. These better prices that they are having right now are enabling them to pay off some debt and get into better financial situations."

Consumers may be shocked to see milk prices hovering around the $4.00 a gallon mark now, but West says farmers pockets aren't getting heavier.

"Milk prices are good right now, but 2 or 3 or 6 months of relief is not going to get them back to where they need to be economically." Meaning the dairy industry is hoping they can milk consumers for a little longer so farmers can make their way out of the hole.

Experts say they believe the cost of milk has peaked and expect the price per gallon to drop off over the next few months.

Posted at 5:20 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com