September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) collects these mailbox prices by way of its federal milk order market administrator offices. Mailbox prices include all payments farmers got for the milk they sold. The prices also reflect all deductions associated with marketing that milk.
There's no adjustment to 3.5 percent butterfat. All prices reflect the actual test of the milk.
Last year's $20.20 is $1.04 higher than the previous record high average mailbox price. The previous record came in 2007 and was $19.16, according the federal milk market administrator's office in Minneapolis, Minn.
The $20.20 U.S. average recorded last year was $3.91 higher than the 2010 average of $16.29.
Highest in Florida
Florida claimed the highest mailbox price in 2011, at $23.14. California had the lowest price: $18.14.
Wisconsin ranked 12th on the list. Its average mailbox price was $20.06. Minnesota ranked 14th, with a mailbox price of $19.95. Iowa, meanwhile, stood 11th, with its mailbox price of $20.25.
The Southeast states had the second-highest mailbox price: $22 per hundredweight. These states are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Five Appalachian states claimed the next-highest price, $21.64. These states are Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
New England's mailbox price ranked next, at $21.34. These states are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Dairy farmers in western Pennsylvania received an average mailbox price of $20.93. In Ohio, the average price was $20.85. Close behind was eastern Pennsylvania, with its price of $20.84.
Moving west, Illinois posted a mailbox price of $20.58. Indiana was close behind, at $20.42.
Wisconsin's and southern Missouri's mailbox prices were only a penny apart, at $20.06 and $20.05. New York's mailbox price finished right at $20 on the nose.
Dairy farmers in five states and regions saw prices of less than $20 on their checks. Those in Minnesota got an average of $19.95. In Oregon and Washington, the mailbox price amounted to $19.90.
The Corn Belt states of Kansas, Nebraska and northern Missouri notched a mailbox price of $19.88. West Texas, which is most of the Lone Star State but for an area in the northeast, put up a mailbox price of $19.37. For New Mexico, last year's mailbox price was $18.33.
In the Upper Midwest Milk Marketing Order, the mailbox price finished at $20.07. Parts of seven states are included in this order: most of Minnesota and Wisconsin, part of northern Iowa and part of northern Illinois, part of eastern North Dakota and part of northeastern South Dakota, along with Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
In New Mexico, the mailbox price was $18.83. That state was trailed only by California.
Peaks August, September
The AMS also reported mailbox prices by month. Most of the peak prices occurred last August, with a few during September. Florida dairy farmers received the highest monthly mailbox price: $26.73, in September.
Wisconsin's peak was $22.31, in August. Minnesota and Iowa farmers also recorded their highest mailbox prices in August, at $22.10 and $22.14.
The Upper Midwest Order's highest mailbox price came during August. It was $22.23.
Last year's numbers are sharply higher than those from a decade ago. The 2000 all-market mailbox price was $12.15. For 2005, it was $14.98. The most recent peak, before 2011, was $19.16, during 2007.
The AMS noted that last year's record high prices "likely did not cover expenses" for some farmers, "especially when factoring in unusually high feed prices."
Strong dairy product sales during 2011, along with record exports, were responsible for last year's milk prices, according to the AMS. Sales were up 1.6 percent, while exports accounted for 13.3 percent (on a milk solids basis) of U.S. milk production.[[In-content Ad]]
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