After several months of declines in milk production, cheese and butter prices skyrocketed in March, and both block and cheese prices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange smashed previous records.

A Saint Patrick's Day rally took the block cheese price to $1.975 per pound, a quarter-penny per pound above the previous record price which had stood since August 1999. The block price broke the $2.00 mark a couple days later, with barrel prices following suit the next week, as this article was being prepared. Butter climbed to $2.315 at about the same time.

The prices brought about a huge disparity in the Class III futures markets between earlier and later months, as analysts anticipated an earlier than usual peak of seasonal cheese prices and subsequent declines throughout the summer.