The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports Wisconsin dairy farmers who survived the adversity of 2009 are now reaping the rewards of a strong global market and prices almost double those seen two years ago.

Low milk prices in 2009 coupled with high feed and oil costs forced many Wisconsin dairies to close. Farmers faced extreme debt when milk prices were $11.40 per hundredweight and not enough to cover expenses. Things have made a turnaround in 2011 with market price at about $21 per hundredweight, boosted by stronger demand for butter, nonfat dry milk, whey powder and cheese in Mexico, Canada, China and Japan.

"This is good times right now," Bruce Gumz, a 38-year-old Dorchester dairy farmer, told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "If you can't make money right now, you're doing something wrong."

Cheese exports during the first quarter of this year were up 68 percent from a year ago. Nonfat dry milk and butterfat were also higher, 79 percent and 104 percent respectively.

While grain prices have hurt dairy producers in other areas of the country, many Wisconsin farmers who grow their own crops have not been affected by the higher price for grain.

While farmers will not recover all of their losses just yet, many farmers made adjustments in 2009 that will help them as the market price fluctuates.

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Source: The Green Bay Press-Gazette