I must admit when I go to the grocery store, I do not always pay attention to the prices. However, recently I have taken notice that many of the groceries that I buy on a regular basis have gone up in cost. Milk was the first thing I noticed.
With three small children, milk is somewhat of a necessity in our household. Children need calcium to make sure that they have strong and healthy bones and teeth as they grow. So we buy at least two gallons of milk each week. There is not much of a substitute for milk when it comes to your child’s nutrition. Of course there are other ways to get calcium, but no product does the job like milk does.
I remember a time just last year when it was almost always that I could purchase milk for $2.50 per gallon. First I noticed that the prices had gone up about a quarter. Then I noticed prices of milk go over $3.00 per gallon. Slowly but surely milk prices have sky rocketed over the past few months. Just today, I went to the grocery store and purchased my weekly supply of two gallons of milk at a whopping cost of $3.67 per gallon. Of course these prices are in Tennessee, not really a place in the United States known for the highest prices. So I am sure that milk costs are even higher in other parts of the country. This means that in just one year milk prices have gone up over $1.00! I know, I know… it is shocking! So shocking in fact, that my local grocery store has posted a memo to all customers explaining why the milk costs have gone up so drastically.
The reasons listed are:
1. A strong demand for milk and milk products particularly for nonfat dry milk, dry whey, and lactose. Of course, I am not really sure what has caused the demand to go up. It could be an increase in population. However, the reason for the demand increase is not listed on the store memo.
2. Dairy Farm production costs have risen, which in turn causes the dairy costs to rise. Feeding the cows has been the biggest strain on dairy farm production costs. Dairy cows are fed corn, and with corn being used for other purposes, mainly ethanol, corn costs have risen for dairy farmers. The rising costs to maintain the dairy farms are probably the largest culprit in the rising milk prices.
The American Dairy Association predicts milk costs to continue to rise through out the Summer and peak in October of 2007.
Conditions for dairy cows have not gotten any better, however, they also have not gotten any worse. It seems as with any consumer product that we must buy, the costs will keep on rising to meet supply and demand. Gas prices are only one other example of this. We must buy gas to get to work, we must buy clothes to wear, and we must buy food to eat. Seems as if the raise in minimum wage is coming just in time, but will it be enough to relieve the lower and middle classes of these costs?