Wholesale market prices in Vermont of dairy products including whole milk and cheese have increased by $2.28 in September, 2023. This markup also reflects the national average increase. A wholesale measure of milk now retails at $18.90 per hundredweight ($0.43 per liter) from the August average of $16.62 ($0.38 per liter).
Vermont is currently reeling from the aftermath of floods that hit Northeast United States in July, 2023. The catastrophic effects have drawn federal aid to grain and livestock farmers, who can now access emergency loans. Estimates put the damage on the state’s agricultural sector at $16 million.
Further afield, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture seeks to link cattle farmers with the suppliers of animal feed. This is after weather impacted the supply of hay and silage in the entire New England region. To ameliorate this feed shortage, on September 2, 2023, the Agency advertised the launch of a portal known as Farm Feed-Finder Marketplace where farmers will connect instantly with feed producers.
The availability of livestock feed is one of the staying factors of Vermont’s dairy industry. Up to March 2023, there were 26,000 more milk cows than there were in quarter 1 of the record-milk producing year of 2022. Furthermore, milk production spiked in March by 1% over that of March, 2022.
Production of milk, however, slowed down in April through May, 2023. Despite this slowdown, cheese prices continued to drop. Dry whey was retailing for $0.27 a pound while cheese cheddar fell from $1.76 in April to $1.53 per pound in May.
The price rebound this September has come as a result of weather-related effects. The return-to-school fall semester will also significantly spike beverage intake and hence price.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicts a monthly price increase as the Thanksgiving holiday nears. By October, milk cost in Vermont and nationally will be back to the higher end of $18 per CWT (44.03 liters).
Wholesale milk prices have, nevertheless, been lower this year than they were in 2022. While class III milk cost $21.96 ($0.50) in most of 2022, the predicted average for 2023 is $17.75 per hundredweight ($0.403 per liter). This will mark a drop by 23.7%. Class III is a term that describes milk that produces popular cheese and cream products.
The drop in milk prices peaked after the half-year mark of 2023. In May and June 2023, official statistics from the Legislature of Vermont showed that Class III milk prices per hundredweight were 18.86 and 18.69 respectively. These were the first two months of this year to cross the $20 mark. The price in June 2022, in Vermont, was $21.98.
Thus, as fall comes in the aftermath of floods, milk prices are starting to look up again for producers. The improvement will bring back the clout for local farmers whose dairy is famous throughout the U.S.’ Northeast.