WIAT-TV (AP) Wisconsin dairy farmers are set to increase their prices for their milk and butter by $1.25 a gallon, the state’s Department of Agriculture said Friday.
The price hike is the first since Wisconsin’s Republican-led legislature passed a law in 2014 that limits the amount of milk farmers can sell.
Wisconsin is one of a handful of states that require dairy farmers to sell more than 50 percent of their milk, while Wisconsinites must buy milk from other farmers.
“This is about making Wisconsin a better place,” said Rep. Dave Schoenberg, R-Oshkosh, the Republican chairman of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, who said the price hike will be phased in over the next three months.
“I’m sure the dairy farmers will be concerned that their costs will rise,” Schoenber said.
“But the state of Wisconsin is a good place to live, and we need to be able to compete on price.”
The dairy price hike has come after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a crackdown on dairy farming in the state.
Last year, a judge ordered the state to make changes to its dairy policies, including mandating a reduction in the amount farmers can buy.
Wisconsin has about 10,000 dairy farms.
The state’s dairy herd is about 4.6 million pounds, or about 1.2 million cows.
The U.K.-based Food & Farm Safety Institute, which represents dairy farmers, said last year that Wisconsin had more than 1,000 contaminated dairy cows and that about 300 of those cows were killed by the state in 2015 alone.
The group has called for a nationwide ban on milk production, citing a growing body of research that links milk consumption with cancer, obesity and diabetes.
Wisconsin dairy farm groups have also expressed concern about the health effects of the milk, citing reports of a spike in urinary tract infections and other gastrointestinal problems.
The Department of Commerce, which is part of the USDA, said the state would be able raise its milk price by a percentage point, based on the price of milk per liter.
That percentage is set at 0.75 percent for milk from Wisconsin farms and 0.3 percent for other milk.
The department did not provide an exact figure.
The price increase will be offset by a reduction of the amount milk farmers are allowed to sell.
The state will also reduce the amount they can charge consumers for milk that is shipped to Wisconsin, the department said.
Wisconsin dairy farmers typically sell about a million gallons of milk a year to consumers, according to the Wisconsin Dairy Association.