Dry season affecting dairy product prices



BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Milk and dairy prices are starting to increase, and the warm weather could be what is affecting it.


The drought across most of the country has decreased this year’s corn crop, which has skyrocketed the price of feed for cows.


In the state, farmers are spending more on irrigation to save their own hay and grass from drying up.


Just recently, a federal farm bill expired, which put pressure on local farms.


 The prices of dairy products may start hitting a record high.


KIRO 7 reporter Lee Stoll spoke with shoppers Diane and Glynden Cross who drove from Canada to purchase milk products in Bellingham because of the cheaper prices.


“That (cheese) at home would be $12.99, and that is $4.99 here,” said Dianne Cross.


Cross said that the cost of milk is even more important for her family.


“Our son is 16, six-three, 230. He’s drinking the milk,” Cross said.


Dairy farmer Leroy Plagerman told KIRO 7 that he is growing some of his own feed for his 800 cows. The higher feed costs and a lower supply means dairy prices could jump 30 to 50 percent.


“There have been some that have gone out in our county this year,” said Plagerman. “We like to see a price that we can make a profit at, but not so high that consumers go to something else.”


Vancouver shopper Barbara Brown said she will continue to shop south.


“Even if prices go up, it’s probably still cheaper for me to come down here,” Brown said.


Farmers said the dry stretch is putting crops they’re planning to harvest next spring in jeopardy, which could affect food prices even more in the future.


KIRO 7 learned that milk in the U.S. is cheaper for Canadian shoppers because Canadian farmers are not subsidized by the government, which means prices are higher.


The Canadian dollar is also strong at this time, giving shoppers more buying power in the U.S.