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Georgia milk leaving state

Bulk of what is produced here is shipped out.

By Tammy Joyner

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sunday, May 31, 2009

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?

270

Dairy farms in Georgia

78,000

Dairy cows in Georgia

133.8 million

Pounds of milk produced in March 2009

66 million

Pounds imported in March 2009

72.1 million

Pounds exported in March 2009

25th

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



--
Dr. Teri Hamlin
North Region Agriculture Education
Georgia Department of Education
204C Four Towers University of Georgia
Athens, Ga 30602
706-542-3679 / 706-540-0032
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