Saputo Inc. reported a steep drop in its third-quarter earnings last month as lower cheese prices and a high Canadian dollar ate into its U.S. revenue. But CEO Lino Saputo said the entire dairy industry in the United States is stressed by weak markets and high commodity prices.

Dean Foods and Land O' Lakes also painted a less rosy picture in their recent earnings reports. Dean stockholders earned $0.49 per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with $0.55 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2004. Net sales for the fourth quarter totaled $2.7 billion, an increase of 4% over the fourth quarter of 2004, due to strong sales growth at the Dairy Group and WhiteWave Foods.

Land O'Lakes reported $128.9 million in net earnings in 2005 on sales of $7.6 billion. Earnings jumped more than $100 million over 2004, but sales fell $100 million from 2004. The dairy foods division posted pre-tax earnings of just $400,000 on sales of $3.9 billion.