Milk Consumption on the Decline

Posted at: 12/11/2012 6:53 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Whether it’s two percent, whole, or skim, there’s a good chance you’re not drinking as much milk as you once did. Statistics from the USDA show a decline of 30 percent in the last 30 years.

Todd Leiding is a life-long dairy farmer. His 68 cows produce 1,000 gallons of milk every two days.

"That's our livelihood is producing milk. That goes to the paycheck,” he said.

But according to recent Wall Street Journal story, that paycheck could be in trouble. The report claims milk production has fallen almost 30 percent since 1975 and the 20.2 gallons Americans drank last year was a decline of 3 percent from the previous year. Leiding has noticed the decline.

"Fluid milk consumption has dropped in the last 30 years probably by half,” he said.

"We're just puzzled by this trend,” said Uinie Biel.

Biel is a dairy farmer in Harmony.

“Our prices are declining and our expenses are rising and it's very, very frustrating,” Biel said.

Both blame the decline on the same thing.

"The pop companies have got more billions of dollars and the dairy producers through our check off only have millions to spend on advertising,” said Leiding.

And while there is concern as to how this might affect dairy farmers in the future, “It would make us think about decreasing our numbers or diversifying or and I'm sure there would be lots of farmers around us that would want to stop milking cows and get out of the dairy business,” said Biel.

For Leiding, as long as other dairy products are selling, he’s not as concerned.

"The fluid milk consumption is definitely a concern, but as long as the cheese or cheese consumption and the ice cream consumption and the yogurt and any other dairy products go up. That’s our benefit,” he said.

Leaving the future of these dairy farms in the hands of the consumers.