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Milk prices rise while dairy farmers struggle

As the price of milk hovers around $3.65 a gallon nationwide, dairy farmers are still struggling with the aftermath of what's dubbed the Great Dairy Recession.

From the Chicago Tribune:

With a gallon of milk costing as much as or more than a gallon of gasoline this summer, a consumer scanning the supermarket shelves might think the situation is a cash cow for dairy farmers.

In reality, it isn't. As the price of milk hovers around $3.65 a gallon nationwide, dairy farmers are still struggling with the aftermath of what's dubbed the Great Dairy Recession.

While milk prices have rebounded since 2009, feed prices have stayed high, and farmers now are just breaking even, though many remain heavily in debt.

Thousands of farmers from Vermont to California have left the dairy business, and Illinois is no exception. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there were 65,000 dairy farms in the nation in 2009, a drop of 33 percent from 2001. The number of farms with milk cows in Illinois in 2007 was 1,200, a decline of 37 percent from 2001, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, which stopped publishing those numbers after 2007.

For more, see: Congress looks for ways to help struggling dairy farmers

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