ARLINGTON, Va. — After a couple tough years filled with
economic hardships, 2014 should be brighter for those producers and individuals
associated with the dairy industry.
Peter Vitaliano, vice president of economic policy and
market research for the National Milk Producers Federation, said that based on
the current forecast, 2014 should be a record year.
However, a couple consecutive, strong months will only
partly outweigh the down months seen over the past few years since record-high
prices in 2011.
“It’s going to be a little better for farmers finally. Feed
prices are looking a little lower,” Vitaliano said.
Over the past few years, the economist noted, dairy
producers have experienced many ups and downs — from 2009, which was the worst
market year in more than 30 years and caused producers to lose a lot of money,
to 2011, when market prices seemed to be on the rise again.
However, he added, 2011 was followed by the drought of 2012,
which caused an increase in feed costs.
“2013 was better, and 2014 should be one of the better years
for the last 10 years,” Vitaliano said.
Although, he believes next year will be great for the dairy
industry due to better market prices and lower feed costs because of a good
overall corn crop, he doesn’t think consumers will see a drastic change in the
price of a gallon of milk.
Milk prices at the supermarket in 2014, Vitaliano said,
won’t go much higher than what they were in 2013.
“It’s so expensive to produce milk, and relatively high
(market) prices just cover it,” he said.
He added that corn prices are not forecast to rise anytime
soon, which is good because dairy farmers can use some relief after a couple