Milk Prices: The Disgusting Truth — 3 Comments

  1. I think you have a valid complaint, in general, because I agree there is clearly a disparity between the inflation and the increase in price of the milk paid to farmers. But there are a host of issues that are sort of skipped over or confused here. Just for a couple of examples…

    It’s not just Packaging – The care and maintenance of the equipment, the cost of the carton material and printing (x16 units compared to one per gallon), the distribution to schools – I do believe the pint is going to naturally be more expensive. I’ve had to purchase ready made packaging and it really isn’t as cheap as you might expect.

    There are multiple prices in the supply chain – The price you pay at the store may not be the actual price paid to farmers. Why? Studies show that where consumer buy their milk is where they make the rest of their grocery/short term supplies. Stores will actually sell milk Below cost to get customers in the door. More studies show that if a customer stops buying milk in your store, they will likely take their business elsewhere within 6 months. Stores want customers to buy milk, period.

    As for the comment about the ‘Contains’ statement – this is required by law as milk is a common allergen, and there isn’t a subclause to the legislation that says ‘you don’t have to label the allergen itself’.

    And as a final comment, for honest hardworking farmers, I’m totally behind you, but history has shown that there has been a good share of corruption through, and abuse of the system and government, too. Especially when it comes to school lunch programs. So let’s not automatically deem them all saints, now, and assume that a gigantic industry like dairy is so easily understood and run. I love your suggestion to shop local and direct.

    Anytime I see posts like this I’m a bit skeptical and want to see all of the facts, not just those readily served up by Google and Wikipedia.

    I commend you and your wife for being concerned active citizens, doing your parts to make our world better. Just wanted to balance out your post a little bit. Thanks for reading.


  2. Oh, and one more thing, it looks like a gallon of milk is ~4.5 pounds. That means for the 100 gallon rates you found, that is ~22 gallons. That would mean that at $14 the farmers are only getting ~60 cents a gallon. That’s even worse than you thought. At the $35 you suggest, that is still just $1.59 to the farmer. Of course, this is all averaged out, so the 2 cow farm and the 2,000 cow farm are all in the group and of course the marginal costs for those two farms are quite different.


  3. Thanks April! These are great and thoughtful comments. However, my comment about the “Contains: Milk” label was supposed to be lighthearted. I just love the obvious obliviousness of such things, like a can of pop (soda where you’re from) where there’s 2.5 servings. Ok, I’ll go find 1.5 other people to share it with … 😉

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