Wisconsin dairy farmers enjoy the lowest milk hauling rates in the Midwest, according to analysis done by economists with Federal Milk Market Order #30.
Wisconsin farmers pay an average of 25¢/cwt, compared to a 31¢/cwt average for the entire Federal Order 30. North Dakota farmers, because they often have the furthest hauling distances, pay $1.26/cwt.
Distance to plants and population centers, competition among handlers and total pounds of milk produced per month all affect hauling rates. "The hauling charges data received by the Federal Order 30 office often represents a flat fee charged by the handler," says Corey Freije, a Federal Order economist. "This flat fee structure leads to a decreasing average hauling charge when viewed on a hundredweight basis."
The data bear that out: Farms that shipped less than 50,000 lb. of milk in May 2013 paid 58¢/cwt in average hauling charges. Farms that shipped 5 million or more pounds that month paid an average of 16¢/cwt.
Here are the state averages: Illinois, 29¢/cwt; Iowa, 46¢/cwt; Michigan UP, 34¢/cwt; Minnesota, 39¢/cwt; North Dakota, $1.26/cwt; South Dakota, 58¢/cwt, and Wisconsin, 25¢/cwt.