From the Modesto Bee:

Year three of the dairy crisis has begun, leaving many farmers wondering just when this business will turn a profit again.

The prices they get for their milk have increased, but so, too, has the cost of corn, alfalfa and other feed.

"It's real simple," Lodi area farmer John Kaehler said. "For dairymen in 2011, it's going to be survival of the fittest."

A healthy dairy industry could help nourish a Northern San Joaquin Valley economy stricken by the downturn in housing, retail and other sectors.

In 2007, when milk prices were strong, the product brought an estimated $2.26 billion in gross income to farmers in the region, according to county crop reports.

Dairies pine for profits of past