Picking up my raw milk from Farmer Steve in East Burke

Dennis drinking raw milk

As many as 200 Vermont dairy farms could be forced out of business by year’s end, the result of volatile milk prices that hammered farmers’ finances during the past year’s price collapse, the state Department of Agriculture has concluded.

“That’s the worst-case scenario,” Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee said Friday. “There is a lot of stress and problems out there.”

He added, “This is absolutely the worst situation I have seen in the dairy industry in my lifetime.”

In 2009, milk sold for about $12 a hundredweight, down from about $18 a hundredweight in 2008. A hundredweight, the unit commonly used to sell milk in bulk, is 11.6 gallons.

Picking up our raw milk at Farmer Steve's

There were 1,017 dairy farms in Vermont on April 1, according to the state. Under the Agriculture Department’s worst-case scenario, the count would plummet to 817 dairy farms in less than eight months.

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