That glass of milk you’re having with breakfast this morning? It most likely came from a dairy farm in Indiana, New Mexico or Texas, not Georgia.
Georgia produces its fair share of milk, but the bulk of its production winds up in Florida, where state dairy farmers fetch better prices. Georgia dairy farmers pay to have outside milk brought into the state. They pay a “hauling charge” which comes out of their milk paycheck. That charge then covers transportation costs. It’s a quirky system that’s been in place since the early 1970s.
“It’s beyond our control,” said Farrah Newberry, executive director of Georgia Milk Producers.
Milk produced here is bought and sold and sent to other states through dairy cooperatives made up of large dairy conglomerates. Those co-ops also sell Georgia’s milk to processing plants throughout the Southeast.
Milk production has had a tumultuous past year. Dairy farmers increased production last year as prices rose. This spring, an oversupply of milk has resulted in lower prices. It’s a good deal for consumers, but not so good for dairy farmers.
Falling milk prices have created problems worldwide.
Just last week, European Union farmers protested the drop in milk prices. Milk prices have plummeted 50 percent in the last year.
Got Georgia milk?
Dairy farms in Georgia
Dairy cows in Georgia
Pounds of milk produced in March 2009
Pounds imported in March 2009
Pounds exported in March 2009
Georgia’s rank in U.S. production
Top milk export destinations
67.6 million pounds: Florida 700,000 pounds: South Carolina 400,000 pounds: Tennessee
Source: Georgia Milk Producers