Possible milk shortage as area dairy farms struggle - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Possible milk shortage as area dairy farms struggle

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One of our biggest food staples could be in jeopardy.

Some dairy farms are closing and others are struggling to stay open.

Tough conditions are causing many farmers to sell off a big percentage of their cattle.

"We can't turn them off, we have to produce every day. We are price takers not price makers," says Art Schapp, Owner, Highland Dairy.

Conditions for dairy farmers have been extremely tough.

"When you can't produce crops, you have to haul in the feed so we're hauling feed as far out as Canada and the trucking with the fuel prices, you know we just can't afford those," says Art Schapp, Owner, Highland Dairy.

Plus the drought and the ethanol subsidy on corn has caused them to suffer even more.

What's even tougher for them is finding ways to manage.

"We're moving our cattle to other states to feed them; Colorado, Nebraska and into Missouri where they can graze. We're also selling cattle trying to reduce our debts," says Art Schapp, Owner, Highland Dairy.

Farms in western states have been forced to close.

"I know there's at least five to seven here and I've heard of three or four in the Texas Panhandle. I've heard of as high as eight to ten in the mid part of Texas," says Art Schapp, Owner, Highland Dairy.

Milk production is already taking a hard hit.

"There are 40 less semi-loads of milk going to the market right now compared to last year," says Art Schapp, Owner, Highland Dairy.

Which is nearly two million pounds less a day.

That's why they're asking the government to be on their side.

"I think the new farm bill coming will help control the supply of milk so we don't overproduce," says Art Schapp, Owner, Highland Dairy.

Farmers expect a milk shortage as early as the fall and prices are anticipated to go up for consumers.