Amid milk price turmoil, California dairy owners consider getting out

With 2009 shaping up to be among the toughest years on record for dairy producers, some dairymen who have been in the business for generations may be making the ultimate decision in the next couple of weeks -- getting out of the business entirely.

The National Milk Producers Federation's Cooperatives Working Together program has announced a herd retirement program, which will help dairy-producing members retire entire dairy herds.

Chris Galen, spokesman for the CWT program, said producers who are members can submit a bid to take their milk cows out of production, taking them to slaughter instead.

Galen said the way the program works is that dairy producers will be paid by the CWT program for the loss of future milk production that a cow would have made. The producer would also get the slaughter price for the cow.

"What the CWT is paying for is not the cow per se, but her future milk production," Galen said.

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