While the value of most commodities seems to be down this year, dairy farmers are seeing stronger prices, according to Terry Entzminger, a Jamestown area dairy farmer.

"The last six months have been favorable," he said, "but we dug ourselves a bit of a hole for prices over the last four years or so."

A year ago, milk prices averaged somewhere between $14 and $15 per hundredweight, Entzminger said.

"This year it is $16 to $17," he said. "Sometimes to $17 plus per hundredweight."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's national dairy price report showed the lowest price for milk at just over $14 per hundredweight in early 2016. Milk prices had peaked at nearly $26 per hundredweight in late 2014.

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Conny van Bedaf, a dairy farmer near Carrington, said she is becoming more optimistic.

"Milk prices are pretty good right now," she said. "Last year wasn't good, but that's how it goes."

Van Bedaf said contractions within the industry have boosted prices.

"It was bad for long enough for production to go down and prices up," she said.

Dairy farmers culling their herds or shutting down their operations was likely a negative impact on the beef cattle market, Entzminger said.

"The dairy industry livestock tends to be hamburger," he said. "When (milk) prices are down, there tends to be more culling."

Entzminger said the export market for milk products is also improving with Mexico the chief customer for American dairy products. Mexico principally buys cheese and dried milk products, according to USDA reports.

That export market could continue to improve if trade deals are finalized, VanBedaf said.

"The demand for protein is increasing," she said, in regard to world food needs. "We in America are good at producing milk. I see good years coming."

One of the positive aspects of the dairy industry right now comes from the tough times facing other aspects of the agricultural industry.

"Feed prices are a plus right now," Entzminger said. "You can't complain about the feed prices."

Van Bedaf said the dairy industry will continue to have good times and bad times.

"There have always been ups and downs," she said. "... now we're not getting rich but there's a profit there. That's how it goes."