Flip through the entire 2023 Challenges in Northeast Milk Transportation report below or scroll down the page to read the introduction and click to download the full report.
Challenges in Northeast Milk Transportation
Challenges in milk transportation are not new. A 1943 report commissioned by the Mississippi Agricultural Experiment Station, entitled, “Problems in the Transportation of Milk from Farms to Milk Plants,” notes many challenges that persist today, including; “a lack of drivers and related personnel”; “low volume routes”; and insufficient compensation for transporters. The report also notes that “Farmers should know what time truckers come for the milk and should have it ready to go at that time. Truckers should not have to wait for the milk, as the rest of the patrons on the routes should be considered.” Thankfully, some of the problems noted in the report have faded, such as war rationing of tires, “muddy unpaved roads”, and challenges with cleaning metal milk cans, however, new problems have emerged in their place (Mebus, 1943). Still, one passage in the report rings remarkably true, 80 years later:
The Economic well-being of farm producers is affected directly and
materially by the relative efficiency of the marketing process which
includes transporting, processing, and storage of commercial farm products.
The proportion of the consumer’s dollar that goes to the “middle man” has
been on the increase for the past several years. It is very important,
therefore, from the viewpoint of [the] rural economy that the farm
marketing system and its operations be carefully and objectively appraised.
A great deal has changed in dairy production and marketing since 1943: The report notes that there were 2.4 cows milked, on average, per farm in the state at that time, and that 60% of the trucks used in milk hauling were 1½-ton capacity. Charges for milk hauling ranged from 10 to 50 cents per hundredweight (cwt.), which, adjusted for inflation, would range from $1.76 to $8.76 today.
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