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Unformatted text preview: Corbis The crisis in dairy farming Milking it Jul 9th 2009 | STANLEY, WISCONSIN From The Economist print edition Trouble for dairy farmers as global demand shrinks Feeling a bit undervalued JOE TIRY milks 55 cows in the gentle hills of Wisconsin. His father was a dairy farmer. So was his grandfather. Mr Tiry’s farm is small, but he has been trying to modernise. He is building a new milking parlour, with two platforms for cows and a sunken one for himself, so that he can be both efficient and comfortable—his knees ache from years spent squeezing a salary from udders. But despite all his efforts, the farm is struggling. Mr Tiry has seen his ups and downs, but never anything like this. Since January 2008 milk prices have fallen by nearly half, from $20.50 per hundredweight (45kg) to $11.40 this June as global demand has plummeted and milk intended for export has spilled back onto the domestic market. Farmers are suffering the consequences. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is unrolling programmes to help. The two Pennsylvania senators, Arlen Specter and Bob Casey, have proposed a bill to reformprogrammes to help....
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- Fall '09
- Milk Producers Federation, Mr Tiry