Falling milk prices leave small farmers reeling

CHENANGO COUNTY – While recently low milk prices are making consumers happy, it may spell trouble ahead for the dairy industry.

Despite last year’s high demand for milk globally that left farmers struggling to keep up, the trend this year has shifted. In 2014, farmers were earning as much as $25 per hundredweight (about 10 gallons of milk) which translated to a consumer price of approximately $3.86 for a gallon of milk in the dairy aisle.

But with less demand overseas this year, namely from China pulling back on its dairy imports after stockpiling milk powder, area farmers are reeling from a surplus, driving prices to alarmingly low levels.

According to the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), the steep decline is leaving an unavoidable impact specifically on small farms and their communities. The organization cites a 85 cents per gallon plummet since November, 2014, causing more strain to an already striving industry.

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