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June 10, 2014

Area farmers: Dairy prices have improved

(Continued)

Shannon Mason, whose Jefferson farm milks 50 Jersey cows, said the price is the highest she has seen since she started farming in 2006.

“You never know how long its going to stay that way” she said. Historically, “it’s been a roller-coaster ride,” she said, but the forecast is that it will stay this way for a while. “We have our fingers crossed.”

With the cost of fuel and feed remaining at elevated levels, higher prices are necessary, she said. At this point, the farm is using the income to catch up on its investment in Cowbella, a brand the farm has developed to get a better price for its product. It will continue to shift more milk into that brand, she said, because even with the current prices, it is much more profitable than sending milk to the processor.

Janice Smith of Franklin said the prices are “a promising change. It has given us a chance to catch up on bills,” instead of having to pick and choose who to pay, as the farm did a year ago. Her family farm milks about 100 Holsteins.

“It makes life a little easier,” she said. The foreign market and the demand for milk at area yogurt producers are all factors, she said. It always drops a little bit during the summer, she said, with demand less because school is out. But “the future looks promising,” she said.   

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