TOWN OF FREEDOM, N.Y. (WKBW) — It’s a busy day at Bliss Dairy Company in the Town of Freedom.
13 employees are keeping up with raw bulk milk production. Between feeding and milking the cows, it’s all hands on deck. “That does not include my wife or myself, and we’re both more than full-time,” said Bliss Farm Owner, Dustin Bliss.
REPORTER Ali Touhey: What’s the most difficult thing you’re faced with post pandemic?
Bliss: It’s harder to give raises to employees. It’s harder to reinvest in the business. Some things you just don’t do because you don’t have the money for it.”
Labor wages have gone up significantly.
“We’ve had to raise our wages anywhere between 10 and 15%,” he said. “We really had to increase the amount we’re paying employees to attract and retain the good quality help that we have,” he added.
Feed costs have also increased, according to Bliss.
“A year ago, we were paying roughly $150 per ton for the corn that we were buying. This year its now eclipsed to $270.”
“There are a lot of difficulties are farmers are facing these days,” said Steve Ammerman with the New York Farm Bureau.
Ammerman said farmers across the state are dealing with continued labor wage and production increases. “All small business are having difficulty hiring, which can effect supply and demand and boost prices.”
Ammerman said farmers receive about eight-cents of every dollar that a consumer spends in the grocery store. The rest goes to food processors, marketing, transportation, grocery stores, etc. “If some consumers are seeing a 25, 50, 100 percent increase, it’s not the farmers getting rich,” said Bliss.
According to the U.S.D.A, the food-at-home (grocery store or supermarket food purchases) Consumer Price Index increased 0.6 percent from March 2021 to April 2021. The fresh fruits category has had the largest relative price increase (4.2 percent). That’s 2021 compared to 202. No 2021 price categories, like meat, and produce, decreased compared to 2020 prices.
Farmers like Bliss can only hope things begin to flatten out both for his sake and you the consumer. “It makes you really anxious to think about what’s going to happen on the back side of all of this.”