Dairy farmers are barely breaking even as the price of milk rises at Florida grocery stores.
NBC-2.com WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida
Dairy farmers say their industry has been in trouble for years, and there are only a handful of dairy farms left in Florida.
There are none in Southwest Florida, including Lee, Collier and Charlotte Counties.
They’re blaming it on tariffs and trade tensions with Mexico.
Rising milk prices are being felt by shoppers in Southwest Florida.
Florida consumes more milk than it produces: about 2.4 billion pounds a year compared to the 40 billion pounds produced in California and 30 billion in Wisconsin.
Dairy farmers like Matt Lussier say they’re losing money.
“Dairy farmers are suffering. The current administration’s trade policies have really hurt the dairy industry. The tariffs to China have certainly hurt us,” Lussier said.
Republican Matt Caldwell, a former state representative, said dairy has become a global market. Caldwell ran for State Agriculture Commissioner and comes from a family of Florida farmers.
“Over the past four years, the prices they have been getting didn’t even cover the cost of production. From the farmers’ standpoint, these higher prices are going to mean they can actually stay in business,” Caldwell stated.
With milk prices rising, many people are looking for alternatives like almond, cashew and even oat milk.
Demand for dairy products in the U.S. remains fairly high. Milk is selling for about $4 a gallon in most stores. The price could rise slightly higher in the next couple of months.