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News stories tagged with "milk-price"

Photo: David Sommerstein
Photo: David Sommerstein

2014 could be a good year for dairy farms

2013 was another comeback year for the dairy industry, after near-record low milk prices forced thousands of dairy farmers out of business during the recession. But the high cost of energy and feed still made it hard for farms to make money.

Two of the top industry forecasters say that could change for the better in 2014. David Sommerstein spoke with Mark Stephenson, who directs the Center for Dairy Profitability at the University of Wisconsin, and Andy Novacovic, a professor of agricultural economics at Cornell University, about what the new year might hold for dairy farmers and how the Farm Bill debate in Congress could affect life on the farm.

Stephenson says soaring corn prices are finally coming down, with a record harvest last summer and declining use of corn in producing ethanol. That means dairy farmers will pay less for feed, so they'll end up with better profit margins this year.  Go to full article

Farmers say milk pricing is "broken"

Congress is about to begin work on a new bill for America's farms. Dairy farmers are particularly concerned about what will go into the next Farm Bill.

North Country farms hemorrhaged money in 2009 when the price of milk tumbled well below the cost of production. Those that didn't sell their herds are still trying to recover.

Some of the region's dairy farmers brought their concerns to a listening session held by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in Herkimer last month. Dave Bullard reports.  Go to full article
Joe Glauber, the USDA's chief economist
Joe Glauber, the USDA's chief economist

A macroeconomics view of the milk price crisis

After a steady rise this winter, milk prices slipped a bit in March. Class 3 milk fetched $12.78, down $1.50 from the February price. That worries the dairy industry, which is recovering from a year of very low prices. The milk price plummeted to 30-year lows in 2009. Joe Glauber says it was the worst example yet of a growing market volatility that needs to be addressed. Glauber is the chief economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He told David Sommerstein high feed and energy prices combined with events overseas to push the milk price down.  Go to full article

Gillibrand holds dairy crisis hearing

On dairy farms across the North Country, this summer may become known as the crisis of 2009. Milk prices are lower than they've been in 40 years. Most farmers here are trying to hang on, but every day they're going deeper into debt. Yesterday in the western New York town of Batavia, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a federal hearing to find a long-term solution to the boom-and-bust cycle in the milk price. Farmers, processors, and economists testified. Bryan Gotham of St. Lawrence County believes a long-term fix may not be enough to help farmers now. Gotham milks 600 cows on a family farm in the town of Russell. He attended the hearing and told David Sommerstein more than 300 people were there, many of them farmers who left the fields during the busy late summer season to send a message.  Go to full article

Dairy courses offered during milk crisis

The latest front in the fight against low milk prices is the import market. New York's Chuck Schumer and five other Senators have introduced a bill that would impose higher tariffs on milk protein concentrates, which compete with domestic powdered milk.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has already announced a plan to increase the price support for milk. That would pay dairy farmers an average of $1.50 more for every hundred pounds of milk. Still, one grassroots group estimates farmers are losing $100 per cow every month.

Cornell Cooperative Extension is proposing education to help farmers save money. In cooperation with the Miner Institute, Extension is offering six-week-long courses for dairy farmers beginning in October.

Ron Kuck is a dairy livestock educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County. He says dairy farmers are doing everything they can to hang on.  Go to full article

Dairy farmers drowning in debt

A Congressional panel overseeing the federal financial bailout says the recession is plunging many farmers deeper into debt and parts of the agricultural economy are in crisis. The panel singles out dairy farmers as among the hardest hit. Milk prices remain at 30-year lows. North Country lawmakers are pushing legislation in Congress to help. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Richard Hobkirk (center), and his father, John, are clinging to their 179 year old dairy farm.
Richard Hobkirk (center), and his father, John, are clinging to their 179 year old dairy farm.

Dairy farmers wait out the milk price trough

June was National Dairy Month. But there wasn't anything to celebrate on the farm. The price farmers are paid for their milk went down again. It's now lower than it was 30 years ago, even though fuel and feed and everything else has skyrocketed. Milk is worth well less than what it costs to produce it. There are no hard numbers. But it appears few dairy farms have gone out of business - yet. Farmers are scrambling to hang on to their livelihoods - in their own barns and as part of a budding grassroots movement. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Gillibrand: fix "absurd" milk price

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says the way dairy farmers are paid for their milk is broken and needs to change. Farmers don't set their own price for their product. An arcane 1930s pricing system does it for them. And this year, that price has plummeted. As North Country farmers struggle to stay afloat, Gillibrand announced a plan yesterday to provide relief. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Dairy farmers hang on in lean times

Two year ago, the North Country was one of the most profitable regions in the country to milk cows. A new report in Farm Futures magazine ranks Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties in the top 20% of places to farm in 2007. Times have changed. The price farmers are paid for their milk has tumbled to half what it was last year. Like many people struggling in this economy, the boom-to-bust has put enormous stress on the region's dairy farmers. But few farms are selling out, says Molly Ames. She's a farm business management educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County. She told David Sommerstein it's not a sellers' market, so farmers are doing what they can to hang on.  Go to full article
Jason McCullom in the milking parlor of his dad Kevin's farm.
Jason McCullom in the milking parlor of his dad Kevin's farm.

Budgeting on Dairy Farms Without a Steady Paycheck

In this first part of our series on the dairy industry in the North Country, David Sommerstein looks at the price of milk as seen through the eyes of one mid-size dairy farmer.  Go to full article

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