By Associated Press
HILO, Hawaii (AP) _ Milk prices on the Big Island are about to go up.
The state Board of Agriculture voted unanimously last week to increase the wholesale price of milk by 26 cents a gallon to offset rising labor, feed and insurance costs at the Big Island’s three remaining dairies.
Board members say the price increase will help the dairies survive, but it’s only a temporary solution.
Dairies have been closing across Hawaii in recent years. In 1999, both the Big Island and Oahu had five dairies. Today, there are only two left on Oahu, one of which plans to close this summer.
Big Island farmers currently get two dollars and 28 cents per gallon for their drinking milk. After the increase, they would get two dollars and 54 cents per gallon.
The price of milk is controlled by the state due to controls put in place in the 1960s to protect local producers.
(Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved)