Senator plans hearing on dairy crisis

Milking dairy farms for profit: The price that dairy farmers receive for their milk has been in free-fall — from $21.70 per hundred pounds in 2007 to just $12 in recent days — while production costs are holding steady or rising. The hundred pounds of milk that earns about $12 costs a few dollars more to produce (one estimate is $17.58 per hundred pounds).  Retail prices have not dropped in correspondence to farm-gate prices, so where is the money going?  Quite a few senators think that industry concentration in the northeastern U.S. is one of the causes of the dairy crisis, including Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who has scheduled a public hearing on anti-competitive activity in the milk market for Saturday in St. Albans, Vermont.  Sen. Schumer (D-NY) pointed at Dean Foods Company as a example: in New York, they control 85 percent of the milk market. (San Francisco Chronicle)

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