Economy is Hurting Yakima Valley's Dairy Industry - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Economy is Hurting Yakima Valley's Dairy Industry

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YAKIMA, Wash.- Home sales, car sales, gas prices and now even the dairy industry is starting to suffer in this slumping economy.  Business is slow and dairy farmers are losing money.

Yakima County is the eighth largest milk producer in the U.S. but with the economy, producing milk has become more costly than profitable. Dairy farmers like Bill Wavrin say this is the worst it has ever been.

"We only take 60 percent of what it costs us to put out products out there its pretty radical, its pretty bad," said Wavrin, the Owner of Sunny Dene Farms.

And consumers buying dairy products feel the same way.

"It just seems like everything you buy goes up higher and higher," said Ted Hoptowit, who lives in Sunnyside.

Bill told me every day $4 are lost on each cow that produces milk and for most farmers, that's a lot of money.

The Sunny Dene Farm has 3,000 cows. They built this herd for the demand six months ago but now that demand is gone.

"We have a herd that's built for a larger economy that we currently don't have and the other side of that is our costs," said Wavrin.

The costs for feeding cows and caring for them have continued to go up, but Bill says he's staying optimistic.

"We'll find a way to put food on your tables using the fewest resources until things get better," said Wavrin.

 
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