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Organic Milk in Short Supply

Due to growing consumer demand and rising organic feed prices, retailers including Target, Wegmans and Publix are experiencing organic milk shortages in markets throughout the country, according to a report by The New York Times.

The organic shortage is a recent development, but has been building through a combination of forces, Jerry Dryer, editor of the Dairy & Food Market Analyst e-newsletter, told SN.

Dryer pointed to the narrowing gap between organic and conventional prices encouraging more organic sales. “And simultaneously those higher conventional milk prices and higher cost of production for organic had some farmers dropping out of the organic business,” he said.

The Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance asked processors, including Organic Valley and Horizon, to pay organic dairy farmers 20%, to more to keep up with the cost of feed, which will likely bring retail prices up 22 cents per half gallon, according to the Times.

The increased prices combined with organic milk’s healthy growth will likely maintain the current level of organic farmers and give incentive for new farmers to convert, but Dryer doesn’t see the shortage going away soon. 

“I think it will be a fairly orderly transition, back to some normalcy, but there will be some glitches on occasion,” he said.

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