Improving milk quality proves profitable for Virginia farmers

Virginia generates 1.7 billion pounds of milk per year.

Though the dairy industry in Virginia is small compared to other states, the commonwealth produces 207 million gallons of milk annually, worth about $481 million according to the Virginia State Dairymen’s Association.

However, hot, humid summers add challenges to milk production in the region. Reduced milk quality results in increased production costs for farmers while decreasing revenues and sustainability.

Christina Petersson-Wolfe, associate professor of dairy science and Extension specialist, wants to help improve the quality of the state’s milk.

Petersson-Wolfe, working with the Southeast Quality Milk Initiative, is helping dairy producers in the commonwealth and the region compete more effectively by lowering bacterial counts in milk, thus commanding better prices in the marketplace. Virginia Tech has partnered with the University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, University of Georgia, and University of Florida to implement the $3 million multistate project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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