Approximately 87% of Americans have ice cream in their freezer at any given moment. Unfortunately, that might not be the case if dairy issues continue. Dairy farmers all throughout the nation are struggling to break even in light of government mandates that were originally meant to protect them.
Low milk prices have been plaguing the nation for the past year. In order to resolve this, a nationwide margin protection program was implemented to provide financial assistance when the gap between the price of milk and average feed costs goes below the coverage levels paid by individual farmers.
Recent figures, however, shows that this plan is not working.
Farmers in the northeast explain that the standards for this assistance program are based on the nationwide cost for feed, which is less than the standard in the northeastern states.
This comes to light in an economic environment where farmers have been failing because of an oversupply of milk both in the United States and worldwide. The milk prices paid to farmers is around $14 or $15 per one hundred pounds of milk, a figure that has been falling below production costs for months.
And now, the farmers do not know how to break even.
Doug Dimento, a spokesman for Agri-Mark, a Northeast dairy cooperative tells the Concord Monitor, “Because milk prices are so low… dairy farmers are producing more milk to keep their cash flow. Obviously that only makes the situation worse.”
Dairy farmers also face another factor with a negative influence on the milk supply: presidential candidate Donald Trump.
With his plans to deport all immigrants out of the country if he is to become elected, dairy farmers nationwide will suffer as the majority of their staff are immigrants.
In 2014 one-third of all dairy farms employed foreign born workers, and a complete loss of immigrant labor could eliminate 7,000 dairy farms, 208,000 jobs, and reduce milk production by 50 billion pounds.
Without immigrant labor, dairy farms will close and force consumers to pay almost twice for milk. Milk is a popular commodity in the U.S. and is used to produce cheese, butter, and other dairy products; as much as 9% of all milk produced nationwide is used to make ice cream.