Milk cheaper, dairy farmers struggle - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Milk cheaper, dairy farmers struggle

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by Danielle Wagner

HUDSON (KWWL) Nationally, many dairy farmers are struggling to survive. According to Reuters, some farms are losing $200 per head each month.

Between the weather, the economy and cheaper milk prices, some dairies are in financial trouble.

Locally, one dairy farm is surviving on efficiency.

Milking cows at Hansen's Farm fresh dairy can eat as much as they want. After all, the 1200 gallons of milk 150 cows produce each day, is how this farm stays operational.

"The general trend of dairy farming is not good. The high commodities prices, high crop prices, and low milk prices. Things just don't add up," said Blair Hansen.

Blair Hansen said one of the only ways to save money on a dairy farm is to become more efficient.

At Hansen's, four brothers do most of the work with only a handful of employees. About five years ago, Hansen's Farm Fresh Dairy started processing its own milk. This eliminated the middle man and helps keep prices consistent.

"We don't like to change our price at all. Our price on the milk is what we need to survive. We're not trying to make a fortune. We're just trying to hang in there," said Hansen.

With so much control on the the farm, the Hansen brothers aren't as vulnerable as other dairy farmers, but they're not immune to the economy.

"Part of our income is selling animals to other farmers and if they don't have any money, well they're not going to be able to buy our animals," said Blair Hansen.

The Hansen's say while it's not a good time to get in the dairy farming business, they plan to keep provide a local product to loyal customers.

Analysts expect milk prices to remain lower through at least the next six months. By the end of the year, prices may only be high enough for some dairies to cover production costs.

The Iowa Dairy Association said there are 2,000 dairy farmers in Iowa... most of which are in eastern Iowa.

The association spokesperson said milk prices are dropping for consumers, but the cost to make milk is still high.

On average, dairy farmers receive 30 cents for every dollar consumers spend on products.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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