Milk Prices on The Rise Across West

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

Milk prices are on the rise and yes, the Nevada Dairy Commission says, the cows themselves are partially to blame.

Tuesday I visited a dairy farm in Fallon to get more on this story.

During those hot summer months the cows had trouble producing milk. Extreme weather can be tough on an animal.

But, dairy farmers say not all the blame falls on the cows.

At Hillside Dairy Farm in Fallon, cows are milked about twice a day. Each cow can produce 40-45 pounds a milk at a time.

It's then funneled into a tin container, where it's sent off for pasteurization, and eventually sold at the local markets.

"Your stores are making a lot of money on milk," says Steve Nunes of the Dairy Farmers of America. "There used to be a time when there was a set minimum price so they couldn't use it as a loss leader - that's hurt."

What's also hitting farmers in the pocketbook is the fact that the hot summer months have taken a toll on their cows.

"If it's hot like a human being you don't feel like producing milk," Nunes says.

That loss in production has led to a hike in milk prices all across the west.

The Nevada Dairy Commission says it has seen a 50-percent to 278-percent mark up in the past year. That's after the producer has received his price.

The commission's advice . . . shop around.

"We do milk price updates monthly," says Michael Compston of the Nevada Dairy Commission. "We have found there's a great difference in the areas of Nevada."

Compston says that's because milk has some of the largest differences in margin.

As for the farmers, their price is set in stone.

"Our price is regulated'" says Nunes. "We can't charge anymore, so it's set black and white. The dairymen get paid the same. The stores can do whatever they want."

The Diary Farmers of America would like to see regulation where the farmers price is tied to the consumer.

The Nevada Dairy Commission wants to reiterate it does not set the price of milk but only ensures that dairy farmers have routine health inspections.

Also, farmers follow state and federal laws so that Nevadans have an affordable, healthy supply of milk.


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