dairy

There’s a crisis facing New Hampshire’s dairy industry.

Nineteen of the state’s 120 wholesale dairy farms have closed this year.

Now, there’s growing concern about what kind of relief – if any – might be available for these farmers and where the industry goes from here.

 

New Hampshire dairy farmers say low milk prices and ongoing drought conditions have contributed to the state losing 16 percent of those farms over the past eight months.

The state's agriculture commissioner says 19 of the state's 120 dairies have closed this year. The state had lost 10 dairies over the previous four years combined.

Federal agricultural prices list 100 pounds of milk as selling for $14.80 last month. That's down from $23.40 in June 2014 and $16.90 in June 2015.

P. Queen / Morguefile

A seven-year long battle between dairy farmers and the large dairy companies that buy raw milk came to an end last week. A federal judge approved the settlement of an antitrust case that alleged that Dairy Farmers of America, Dairy Marketing Services, and Dean Foods worked together to drive down milk prices in the Northeast.

Farmers in eleven states, including New Hampshire and the District of Columbia, will be getting payments under the agreement. New Hampshire farmer Steve Taylor helped outline the settlement conditions. He joined NHPR’s Peter Biello to discuss the lawsuit.

S Cook/Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire milk production ticked up slightly in the first quarter of the year. 

The latest data from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service shows 72 million pounds of milk produced between January and March.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

There's a cliché around college life, that students are up at all hours of the night, and not merely for studying. Of course, when junior Tyler Kelting is up at 4 in the morning, it’s not because of partying. He’s got work to do.

"We milk at 4 am and 3 pm," he says during an open house at the Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center, on the northwestern side of the Durham campus. And about 70 of the roughly 170 cows here need milking, so there's plenty to do. 

Congress is in the midst of renewing this giant legislation, after missing its first deadline to do so.  And New Hampshire farmers are keeping an eye on this process, they want assurances a final measure won’t just favor big agribusiness, but also, the smaller farms prevalent in our region.  We’ll find out the bill might include and what’s at stake for the Granite State.

Guests

The Muddle Over Milk

Sep 26, 2012

A new book examines what it calls “the failed economics of the traditional small dairy farm”, blaming a complex, highly regulated market where middlemen and mega-farms always win.  We’ll look at this phenomena in New England, and how the author says there are new models that offer some hope. 

Guest

  • Kirk Kardashian – Senior writer at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and author of "Milk Money: Cash, Cows and the Death of the American Dairy Farm.