For the past two years, the most Dale Eade has been able to get from retailers for his milk is about $1.29 cents per gallon. Now, it appears that relatively low price may be partly to blame for the 40 to 50-cent price increase consumers are seeing when they buy a gallon of milk.
"We have a shortage of milk today that we did 24 months ago and we have fewer farmers and fewer cows to produce the milk," says Dale Eade, a local dairy farmer.
Eade says the price farmers were getting forced some to leave the business. Soon after, mad cow disease further cut into the number of milk-supplying cows after that country's dairy cows were banned from the U.S.
But a decrease in supply isn't the only thing affecting prices. An increase in the demand for milk, cheese and other products means whatever milk is coming out of these cows is even more valuable.
Dale Eade says, "In Florida, in particular, the increase in demand has been increased by the increase in population."
Florida is one of the fastest growing states, but there are other factors affecting the demand for milk and dairy products. Factors like the low-carb, high-protein diet trend that's driving up demand for cheese.
Milk prices generally go up and down in cycles. Experts say it's still too early to tell when prices will go back down.