BYRON, Minn. - The dairy industry is rebounding. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says after a five-year slump in milk prices, there has been a turnaround in recent months. We spent time on the farm to find out how farms are faring in times of uncertainty.
According to the numbers, more people are buying milk. On average - farmers make 10-11 dollars per hundred lbs. of milk. Now - they are getting anywhere from 15 to 23 dollars.
You might be wondering: why is that? Dairy farmer Kevin Connelly has ideas.
"First the government started a food box program where they were buying dairy products and a lot of local produce to give to people during the pandemic - handing out to the food shelves to the people in need," Connelly said.
Americans also are craving a good old-fashioned glass of milk.
"People actually discovered you don't need to consume dairy at a restaurant, you can consume it at home," Connelly said. "People have made milk a staple in the refrigerator for their family's meals."
Fellow farmer David Scheevel says the dairy industry shouldn't get too excited yet.
"Our demand is starting to ease off just a little bit, so we're concerned we're going to see some softening in prices the next couple of months," Scheevel said.
Over the course of his career - Scheevel has grown accustomed to the fluctuating cycle of milk prices. But the coronavirus pandemic leaves the future uncertain.
"If we oversupply the market again and it crashes prices, that's a big concern," Scheevel said. "Hopefully there's enough big demand for what we're producing that prices can stay in a decent range."
Farmers consider themselves the eternal optimists - that's the attitude they are practicing during these wary times.
"We're optimistic things are going to progress at least a profitable level," Connelly said. "That's all we're looking for - any business wants to be at a profitable level - it's up to us to manage how profitable that is."
Connelly says if you want to keep supporting dairy farmers - throwing some cheese or melting butter on your sweet corn - all that helps.