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Dairy prices are still low

FINGER LAKES—Dairy farmers are still taking a hit when it comes to the price they are paid for milk.
Collin McCarthy, dairy specialist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension, said most farmers in the state are getting $11 per 100 gallons of milk. Farmers were getting about the same price in January of this year. In comparison, in January of 2008 the same price of milk was $22 per 100 gallons. Jim Bergen, with Bergen Farms in Odessa, confirmed this was true for his farm.
McCarthy said the cost of producing that same 100 lbs. of milk is usually $14 for farmers. This is where the farmers are taking a hit. That involves labor fees, utilities, maintenance, and taxes. The price of fuel is also part of production.
“The price of fuel is going up at a time when farmers need to be out in the fields more,” said McCarthy.
Bergen said earlier this year the price farmers receive was expected to increase by now.
McCarthy explained area dairy farmers are looking at where costs can be cut, but without harming business. For example, McCarthy said some farmers are looking at cutting back on feed. However, doing that could negatively impact production and reduce profits if the cows do not have enough nourishment to make milk.
“If farms had expansion plans, they are holding off,” added McCarthy.
Bergen said his farm is putting off “spending money on anything we absolutely don’t need.” Which right now includes equipment.
Luckily, McCarthy said he is not aware of any area farms that have gone under due to the price decreases. He added, “this is not the first time this has happened in the industry.” McCarthy said he expects prices to rise again by the fall.

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