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Published June 30, 2010, 09:21 AM

Letter: Dairy farmers need your support

June is dairy month, so it is time to thank the dairy farmers in our area.

By: Pat Irrthum, Wanamingo, The Republican Eagle

To the Editor:

June is dairy month, so it is time to thank the dairy farmers in our area.

Dairy farmers supply us with milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter and a rich variety of ingredients for our health. Not only do they provide us with delicious and nutritious treats, but dairy farmers in Minnesota have an annual output value of $4.6 billion, and create nearly 40,000 jobs in the state. There are 101 cows on the average dairy farm and dairy is 24 percent of the state’s total livestock receipts.

Recently, dairy farmers have had a difficult time making a profit because input costs are high and the price dairy farmers receive for their milk is not enough to cover their costs. Only one-fourth of the amount of money you pay at the grocery store for a gallon of milk actually makes it back to the farmer. Some consumers do not know where their food comes from, let alone their dairy products, and there are 4,700 dairy farms in Minnesota providing 1000 million gallons of milk for consumers; each cow producing 6 gallons of milk per day.

Educating people where their food comes from is a Minnesota Farmers Union priority, and part of that priority surrounds dairy and dairy products.

Rural Minnesota is 20 percent or our economic engine. This is about our local economy and where the money is spent.

Dairy farmers need your support; take time this month for a dairy break. You as a consumer or as a farmer can make a difference.

Pat Irrthum

Wanamingo

Pat Irrthum is president of the Goodhue County Farmers Union.

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