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Chocolate milk can be a lifeline for imperiled dairy farmers

Mar 20, 2018 • by Mike Zielinski, Host of The Mike Zielinski Show
Mike Zielinski

I have a special affinity for dairy cows.

One, because I once participated in a cow-milking contest prior to a then Reading Phillies game at First Energy Stadium. I think the cow sort of liked me.

Two, when I was playing sports, I was about as nimble as dairy cow.

Sadly, I read the other day in a local paper that Berks County dairy farmers are fighting to stave off the executioner’s song.

They’re struggling to survive because minimum raw milk prices are in a four-year tailspin that reached alarmingly low levels in the first quarter of 2018.

Prices for raw milk used to make bottled milk rose in 2014 to a minimum of $26.67 for 100 pounds. That price has plummeted to $13.36 this month.

People don’t drink as much milk as they used to. Not that I blame them. Infants love milk. Then they outgrow it.

Once upon a time milk was a big deal. But then again so was the horse and buggy.

Americans on average consumed 154 pounds of bottled milk in 2016, about 2 gallons less than in 2011 and about 5 gallons less than in 2000.

The decrease has fueled a glut of raw milk in the national and global, market, and brought on the four-year drop in the price.

Which is why some farmers have dropped dairy to raise beef cattle and cash crops.

While milk is good for you, it’s not all that tasty.

I only like milk in my cereal. Even then, once the cereal is gone I dump the milk down the sink.

Granted, I do love chocolate milk.

Indeed, chocolate milk now is touted as a great post-workout beverage, one with nutritional benefits that boost energy levels, strengthen bones and build muscle mass.

None of which is why I drink it. I simply love the taste.

Because they are taking more selfies, folks are saying cheese more frequently and eating more cheese.

Americans consumed 34 pounds of cheese per person in 2015 compared to 27 pounds in 1996.

Of course, there always is a rub.

Much of the raw milk produced by Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers is used to produce drinking milk.

If the state could attract plants that produce cheese, particularly non-American types like pizza and specialty cheeses, it would boost demand for milk and offer better prices to local dairy farmers.

In the interim, encourage your family and friends to drink chocolate milk by the gallon on the hour every waking hour.

With Easter approaching, an invading army of chocolate bunnies is about to hit town.

There’s no better time to market the benefits of chocolate milk.

Save the dairy farmers and indulge your sweet tooth.

I call that a win-win.

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