Milk prices continue to increase

By Ebonique Wool

National milk prices have gone up since last spring, largely due to the increased cost of production and world demand, said Mike Hutjens, extension dairy specialist at the University.

“In our state, (the price of milk) has gone up 50 cents a gallon,” Hutjens said, “And in some parts it’s even higher than that.”

The prices are determined by the value of milk, cheese and butter, he said.

The milk prices in early 2006 and 2007 have been hard on milk farmers and some have gone out of business because of the high cost associated with milk production, resulting in negative profit margins, Hutjens said.

“The shifting of corn to ethanol (for gas) has increased the price of corn, corn silage, cottonseed and hay,” Hutjens said, “And these are primary feeding ingredients.”

The higher cost of feeding the cows, combined with lower milk yield due to heat and increased output has been very costly for farmers.

About half of the 50-cent increase per gallon is going toward the costs of production, feed and fuel prices. To counter the increased milk cost, some companies have been forced to raise their product prices.

Cold Stone Creamery, 505 E. Green St., increased their prices around May, between 10 to 20 cents per product, said Bridget Doyle, shift manager and senior in LAS.

“We also came up with cheaper things too,” Doyle said. “Now you can just get ice cream, it used to be you needed to get a mix-in as well.”

Espresso Royale cafes on campus have also posted signs informing their customers of a price increase due to the higher price of milk and gas.

“A small coffee was $1.40 and now it’s $1.51; a medium mocha was $3.51 and now a medium is $3.73,” said Kristin O’Brien, senior in ACES and employee of Espresso Royale, 1402 W. Gregory Drive.

Although the price of milk for consumers will not drop until after the fall in order to make up for the milk farmers’ losses, it is expected to come down in the next three months, Hutjens said.