By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published May 29, 2007 at 8:46 AM
There are a million things that I hate spending my hard-earned dollars on, not the least of which include gas, health care and parking. But each trip to the grocery store, I've noticed more and more how dietary staples of milk, cheese and meat have inched up ever so slowly.

While many bemoan the rise, I have to say I don't mind it one bit. In fact, I almost welcome and applaud it.

No, I don't have money to burn; but neither do Wisconsin farmers. And considering how much the state's once-fabled dairy industry has struggled in recent years, those who put the milk in our cereal and cheese on our burgers needed this.

Farmers have been taking it hard, like the rest of us, over the past few years as the prices for fuel to run their vehicles and equipment went up along with the costs for feed and fertilizer. Add in the growth of California's dairy industry (thanks to what could be called a clever marketing campaign), and the decline in Wisconsin's production; things haven't been so rosy in America's Dairlyland.

Farming isn't easy, but it's still one of the few noble professions left on the planet. Think about it, as much as we city folk want to make fun of their dirty trucks, country music, and laid-back ways; they, ultimately, feed us. As a friend raised on a beef farm often said, "milk doesn't come from the grocery store."

Nothing is cheap anymore and there's little relief in sight. But while I flinch at the reality of coughing up $3.42 for a gallon of gas; I'm more than happy to pay that much for a gallon of Wisconsin milk.