Milk prices expected to rise - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Milk prices expected to rise

April 4, 2007

Leesburg - - Along with rising gas prices, get ready to dish out more money for milk.  Economists predict the price of milk could rise as much as 30 cents per gallon by Fall. Rising costs for dairy farmers make it harder for them to produce the milk you buy.

Cherry Mitchell feels the pinch when the price of products like milk rise.

"Does that make you concerned at all?" we asked.

"A little bit," Mitchell says.

"Because it's more expensive?" we asked.

"Yes!" Mitchell says.

Get ready for another increase. Economists believe the price of milk will make a 9 % jump by Fall. So what might cost you $3.07 for a gallon of milk now, could go up to $3.35.

"We just gotta work smarter and be more efficient, try to make every step count," says Marty Erickson who oversees the Oakhill Dairy Farm in Leesburg.

Several factors, like rising gas prices and the cost of corn to feed the cows, are making it more difficult for dairy farmers to produce milk.

Last year Erickson paid $130 for a ton of corn, now he says he pays about $170.

"It's just $40, but when you're doing that day in and day out, when your feed bill is $200,000 a month, $40 bucks adds up a lot quick."

Tractors used to transport food to the cows also need fuel. With 2,200 cows, one truck load of feed will only last a week.

"The fuel is driving everything else. Everything that comes in and goes out, it goes on a truck."

When you buy milk at the store, don't think all of that money is going back to the dairy farmers.

"There are just too many people in the middle. It's a process to get it from here to the store so there's a lot of hands that touch it and they all gotta get paid too and generally they take theirs before we get ours."

Despite the predicted price increase, the demand for milk is steady.

"I need milk and I have grandchildren who drink milk, and I will still buy milk," Mitchell says, even if she has to reach a little deeper in her pocketbook. 

Erickson says his farm has made changes in how they feed cows in order to cut back on costs. He says they are using more liquid supplements for the cows and less traditional feed.

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