How much more can the average dairy farmer take?

Arden Tewksbury

There’s an old saying that goes, “What goes up, must come down!”   That law of gravity may apply to many things, but it sure doesn't apply to prices paid to our dairy farmers.

While prices did go up somewhat to dairy farmers for a short time, the prices have been going down again.  The August price in Federal Order #1 will be $17.69 (Pro-Ag predicted somewhere between $17.70 and $17.75.)

The cost of production continues to hover around $22.50 per cwt. (hundred pounds of milk).  The marketing costs levied onto dairy farmers by some dairy co-ops run as high as $2 per cwt.  Other milk handlers are estimating the costs charged to dairy farmers for hauling their milk will be over $2 per cwt. by February of 2022.

Now when you add co-op dues, advertising fees and other miscellaneous costs, one must realize that many dairy farmers may net less than $15 per cwt.   How can we expect the average dairy farmer to stay in business?

It’s time many dairy farmers must stop listening to the wrong people and stand up for your rights.

Senator Gillibrand’s hearings:  for many months Senator Kirsten Gillibrand promised a hearing primarily for dairy farmers.  Members of the Senator’s staff have been keeping Pro-Ag informed as to how the possible hearing was moving along. However for over a month, we were not able to have a call back from her staff.  Where have the good old days gone? The days when many dairy farmers could testify at hearings? 

Certainly things have changed since the good old days.

I don't know very much how milk is priced to consumers in the state of Kentucky.  The other day I had a gentleman approach me and showed me information on his smart phone stating a gallon of milk was being sold for 69 cents a gallon.  A dozen eggs for less than one dollar.  He recognized our signs in the store, which indicated we were trying to get whole milk back in our schools, and trying to obtain fair prices for our dairy farmers.  He looked at me and said, “How the heck can dairy farmers survive on these prices?”

I can only assume that the state of Kentucky allows some products to be sold as “loss leaders.”  I call upon all of you who read this to help us obtain a fair price for their milk and still be feasible for consumers.

Please help all of us to get whole milk back in our schools.

Yesterday we were informed that Senator Gillibrand’s hearing will be held September 15, and none of our local farmers will have a chance to testify.  

Arden Tewksbury

Tewksbury is manager of Pro-Ag