|Milk powder stored in a warehouse in Fowler, California.|
This from the Times article:
…demand for dairy products is stalling amid a global economic slowdown and credit crisis, even as supplies have increased. The result is a glut of milk — and its assorted byproducts, like milk powder, butter and whey proteins — that has led to a precipitous drop in prices.The article also tells us that some agricultural sectors in addition to dairy are also struggling. Domestic “corn, wheat, soybeans and pork” are cited as sectors in some trouble due to a lessening of foreign demand. Thus food made from those products may start to be a more significant part of what poor and homeless people will be soon be eating.
…But while the government has price-support programs for about two dozen agricultural products, so far milk powder is the only commodity that has sunk low enough to start the flow of government dollars. Some expect that taxpayers will soon be buying blocks of cheese, too, given the plunging price.
Government price supports provide a price floor for agricultural products as a way of keeping farmers afloat during hard times and ensuring an adequate food supply.
The Agriculture Department has committed to buying 111.6 million pounds of milk powder at 80 cents a pound, for roughly $91 million, which includes some handling fees.