Despite its northern location, agriculture in Alaska brings $50 million to the state’s economy. Of that, $3 million is from the local dairy industry. But dairy producers there worry it won’t be that way much longer.

In the MatanuskaValley, the main buyer of milk in the region is the state-owned Matanuska Maid which may soon be privatized. Local producers fear if that happens, the processor will just bring in milk from the state of Washington instead of paying the high price for milk that producers currently receive — about $23 per hundredweight according to an article in the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

Producers tried to organize and create a cooperative that would buy, bottle and market their milk. But Alaska Dairy Producers Inc., never got off the ground. However, $650,000 in federal money earmarked for that project now sits waiting at the USDA Rural Development office for a new Alaskan project to fund.

To read the complete article from the Alaska Journal of Commerce, go to:http://www.alaskajournal.com/stories/080606/hom_20060806007.shtml

AlaskaJournal of Commerce