Precious milk

first_imgBy Cat HolmesUniversity of GeorgiaSkyrocketing gas prices are no secret. But now Americans arenoticing higher tabs when they go to pay for milk, pizza and icecream, too.That’s because milk prices have more than doubled since this timelast year, said University of Georgia agricultural economist BillThomas. “The base price for milk was $9.41 last year and it’s$19.66 now.”The cause? A slew of factors that have combined to create “almosta perfect storm,” Thomas said.What happenedFor the past three years, dairy farmers have made some of thelowest prices in history, said Bill Graves, a UGA ExtensionService dairy specialist. “For the past two years, they’ve made1975 prices.”The result was that many dairy farmers downsized or quit, and theones who remained added cows.Another factor is the case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy,or mad cow disease, in a single U.S. dairy cow last December.That cow came from Canada, so the United States stopped importsof Canadian dairy cows. That action cut off a major supply ofreplacement dairy cows, Thomas said.To compound the problem, the high price of gas has raisedtransportation costs, and feed prices have soared.On top of everything else, the demand for milk started to pick upas the economy improved.’Perfect storm'”All of a sudden, we have a higher demand for milk and a low milksupply,” Thomas said. “The net effect was to drive the prices up.”The rise in dairy prices is unmistakable at Peppino’s Pizzaria, alocally owned restaurant in Athens, Ga. Prominent signs on eitherside of the cash registers read: “Due to the price of cheese going very crazy, we have to raise the price of [our pizza].”In a recent PizzaMarketplace.com survey, 70 percent of themarkets surveyed said they’ve raised their pizza prices or wereplanning to do so in the near future.Where’s the money going?”It’s sure not going into farmers’ pockets,” Graves said. “It’sthe retailers, not the producers, who set the prices. About 30percent of what you pay goes to the farmer. The other 70 percentgoes to processors, distributors and retailers.”Thomas notes that a gallon of milk at the Athens Navy Commissaryis $1 cheaper than at the grocery store where he normally shops.”The higher prices are helping dairy farmers recover, butretailers are definitely making money off milk right now,” Thomassaid.Thomas predicts that base milk prices will start to decline inthe next couple of months.”Fluid milk (prices) will continue to increase for the nextcouple of months and then … start to come back down,” he said.”Will the retail milk prices come back down? That’s the bigquestion. And right now, nobody has the answer.”(Cat Holmes is a news editor for the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Vick simply does not seem to get it

first_imgHey, Badger readers. I’m Aaron Brenner, and I am psyched to have the Thursday column this semester.I’m from Littleton, Colo., infamous for Columbine but famous for LenDale White. I’ll talk more about the latter later this year.Anyway, I pose this first question to you: after a sixth suspension from school, when you leave the principal’s office after being expelled, would you smack his secretary with a spitball on your way out?Well, would you back into the cop’s car after having your license revoked thanks to your seventh speeding ticket in a year?When having the best thing in your life taken away from you for screwing up one too many times, would you do something even dumber merely hours after the fact?No? Then I’m guessing you’re like me in that you also cannot begin to explain the mental wasteland that is Marcus Vick.Low on common sense and high on other things, the former Virginia Tech quarterback was recently removed from his college squad after piling up a rap sheet that makes Dennis Rodman look like an upstanding member of society.Seriously, prior to being yanked from the Hokies, the guy had been busted — and, bear in mind, this is in the last 21 months alone — for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, having sex with a 15-year-old girl, giving alcohol to underage girls, reckless driving, speeding, marijuana possession, flipping off opposing fans and intentionally stomping on a Louisville player in this year’s Gator Bowl.What, no reported DUI? Come on, Marcus, you gotta live a little.What’s more, this kid brother of NFL star quarterback Michael Vick had everything he could ever want. His team garnered much of the Rose Bowl talk in October, he was an outside Heisman shot (particularly for next year, assuming he stuck around), and he likely would have been claimed early on the first day of the NFL Draft, whether this April or the next.However, Vick the Not-So-Quick found a way to screw it all up.Marcus, during Virginia Tech’s 35-24 Gator Bowl victory over the Louisville Cardinals, was caught on tape trying to crush the left calf of defensive end Elvis Dumervil during the game. While Vick says it was an “accident” and “apologized,” the video clearly contradicts his claims — as does Dumervil’s denial of any such apology.As a result of this embarrassing episode, combined with Vick’s aforementioned actions, Hokie coach Frank Beamer had no choice but to release the star quarterback from his program.Sure enough, being a spoiled brat on top of it all, Vick declared his eligibility for this year’s pro draft swiftly, as if to say he didn’t need college ball to succeed at the next level.But here’s the thing. None of this stuff is really what the media has been talking about as of late.Had the story ended here, Vick likely would have been drafted anywhere from the middle of the second round to some of the later rounds. Given his questionable behavior, it’s hard to believe that Vick would have been a first-rounder; however, it is assumed that his talent would make some general manager take a chance on him at some point.But just two days after declaring his wish to enter the professional ranks, Vick very well may have shot down any chance of playing an NFL down.Vick was arrested for threatening three teenagers with a gun at a McDonald’s in Suffolk, Va., on Jan. 9, according to an Associated Press report. The report added that he faces a potential three years in prison and a $7,500 fine if convicted of all three misdemeanor charges.Just two days after making himself available to NFL teams!You know, you’d think the past experiences of jail time, numerous suspensions and fines, drug counseling and tests, a revoked driver’s license and many community service hours would eventually teach this prodigy that breaking the law might not be a good thing after all.Again, this isn’t some washed-up bum who’s got nothing else to live for. This August, if he cleaned himself up and landed a few lucky breaks on an NFL team along the way, he could potentially be taking snaps as a rookie in the greatest sports league in the world.Here’s the saddest part: what this latest offense should tell us is that he may be beyond help.Sure, Terrell Owens never shut up when he played for the Eagles. But since he was effectively booted from that team, we haven’t really heard from him.He’s not conducting any more media/sit-up sessions in his front yard, and he’s not demanding more money. He even let up and stopped crying for his release to another team.T.O., in a small manner, gets it. It seems Vick simply does not.Of course, it’s still possible he could end up on an NFL roster later this spring. He’ll likely go to work as a third-stringer just trying to work his way up to a starter’s position.That will never change. What has changed, though, is any opportunity for Vick to show he can be mature.He had his seventh chance, and he blew it the night of Jan. 9. It would sicken me to see a pro team grant him an eighth.Aaron is a freshman majoring in journalism. Aaron doesn’t know what we are yelling about. Loud noises. He can be reached at [email protected]last_img read more