The Rising Cost of Milk

dairy cow, Brennaman's dairy

Dairy Cows in the Flathead

By Cat, originally on my old blog, June 2, 2007; moved to Cat’s Kitchen May 2019; image, right, from D. Morgan, used with permission.

Did you catch “Will Milk Become America’s New Oil?” AP article in your local paper this week (2007),* by David Mercer?   It warns that consumers can expect a sharp increase in dairy prices this summer, and predicts an average price of $3.78 per gallon for whole milk in the US this year (2007). 

What is driving this increase?

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This increase in the price of milk will be driven largely by two factors:

  • higher costs of transporting milk to market (due to rising cost of fuel);
  • increased demand for feed corn to produce ethanol for fuel.

A third factor may also have an impact:  increased global demand for milk, primarily in China and other Asian countries, where milk protein is used in animal feed.

This trend just might have an unexpected — but welcome — impact, as consumers demand better prices for milk:  

  • Farmers might switch from feeding corn in feed lots, to allowing their cows to range in pastures and feed on grass, the preferred food of ruminants.  What, you think that’s the way it has always been?  Think again.  The contented cows we remember from the first half of the 20th century have increasingly become disgruntled cows, as farmers move them from pasture to feed lots and crowded barns.
  • We might hope for another return to older times:  homemakers might switch to buying milk directly from the local farmer.  This would certainly eliminate the high cost of transporting milk across the country, and would also ensure a fresher product.
  • The new trend in gourmet cheeses made in local kitchens might experience even greater interest in their products.

These changes will not only take a smaller net chunk from the family budget, but will provide health benefits as well.  Milk from cows fed on pasture grass is of higher quality and improved taste.  Compared with commercial milk, milk from grass-fed cows is:

  • Higher in the good Omega-3 fats;
  • Naturally lower in fat and calories;
  • A richer source of a fat called CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), a potent defense against cancer;
  • Higher in natural vitamins A, D and E.

Families who visit their local farmer to purchase fresh milk and other dairy products, will experience a deeper connection to their communities, and develop a richer understanding and appreciation for our agricultural industry.  Children will no longer have to go to a petting zoo to experience the joy of petting farm animals.

And consumers just might begin to question the need for pasteurization, once they see how well the enlightened farmer cares for the health and cleanliness of his grass-fed cows, and the purity of his product.  Raw milk has many known health benefits that are eliminated by the pasteurization process:

  • vital, living cultures of probiotics (beneficial bacteria such as acidophilus);
  • natural antibiotic activity that discourages proliferation of disease-causing bacteria, such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, typhoid, e. coli, salmonella, and listeria;
  • vital, active enzymes;
  • vital immune factors.
  • in-tact proteins (pasteurization denatures milk’s proteins; 

[To denature means to make it unnatural, leading to allergies and possible auto-immune problems. Denaturing proteins causes the long amino-acid chains to unravel and form new, foreign shapes.]

These healthful factors could result in (not a complete list):

  • fewer asthma attacks;
  • increased ability to lose weight;
  • increased resistance to diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and Crohn’s;
  • improved lipid profile (blood cholesterol and triglycerides).

Perhaps you think pasteurization protects you from milk-borne disease, but the fact is, many pathogens that cannot survive in raw milk will proliferate in pasteurized milk.  For example, MAP bacteria that is suspected of causing Crohn’s disease; (1) 

For more information on the health benefits of real milk, visit the website: A Campaign for Real Milk, a project of the Weston A. Price Foundation (2).  Also visit my health article on Raw, Real Milk.

* (Article appeared in Kalispell’s Daily Inter Lake on Thursday, May 31, 2007; Portland’s Oregonian on Friday, June 1, 2007)


  1. BBC News | HEALTH | Bacteria survives milk processing (
  2. A Campaign for Real Milk, a project of the Weston A. Price Foundation:

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