The cost of butter and margarine has gone up more than 19% over the past year. Milk prices are up nearly 15%.
“We have to get more for our product because everything we buy to make milk costs us more money,” Dustin Bliss, the owner of Bliss Dairy Company, said.
Bliss said right now, dairy farmers are facing two options.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said food prices have risen 9.4% over the past year. But the Bureau said in April, the rate of inflation fell for the first time since August 2021. But prices haven’t slowed on dairy products.
“The option is to either stay in business, and pay the extra money for fertilizer, for seed, for fuel, or go out of business and do something else with your land,” Bliss said.
He said over the past year, his labor costs have increased 50-100% because there are fewer workers.
“My decisions throughout the labor shortages has just been to pay more money. There wasn’t an option between getting the chores done adequately or cutting corners in my mind or just staying in business. We chose to stay in business,” Bliss said.
It’s also become more expensive to feed the animals because the cost of feed and fertilizer has risen.
“The average cost of fertilizer has more than doubled for everything. Some products have increased 250%. You don’t have an option again. I have 1200 animals here I have to feed. I can’t just use less fertilizer,” Bliss said.
Combine these expenses with the rising cost of fuel, a truck driver shortage, and farms on track to spend the most they have in a long time.
“I would say an average year, over the past ten years, the month of May and summer has run between $10,000 and $15,000. I expect that cost to eclipse $30,000 just for the month of May,” Bliss said.