Just got a new batch of stats from my ‘Dairy Herd” copy today as it says on the cover it is my ‘business resource for dairy producers.’
Dan Basse, president, Ag Resource Company, tells us “WORLD dairy production will set new record up 7.4% in last three years to 591 million metric tons.” Dear Dan. Then why are there so many hungry people in the world? Also, as a dairy farmer, I’m being told there is a glut of milk in the world and that is why my milk price is now the same as it was back in the 1980’s. Go figure that one out!
Here in the U.S., licensed farms in 2005 totaled 64,555 down to 43,584 in 2015, a drop of 20,000+ in 10 years. In the big dairy state of Wisconsin in 2015 there were 9,900 licensed farms, falling below 10,000 for the first time. Only one state, Arizona, increased in 2015, up 10, to 110 licensed farms.
Major result average in dairy herd size in 2005 was 140 cows which jumped to 215 cow average in 2015. Efficient bunch, I’d say.
Charlie Arnot, a member of the Center for Food Integrity says, “The public believes that the bigger you are the more likely you are to put profit ahead of the public interest.”Ok, so why am I the only idiot with one eye and half a brain, who just added 2+2 and got 3?
As I continued reading the experts told me how cow comfort helps production, crossbreeding for pure profit, along with how lowering heifer feed cost could help my total farm budget. All these very helpful hints to become more efficient and tighten my belt one more notch. Well, just between you and me, my damned belt has dun run outta holes and the jackass who thinks you can make a living in 2016 , getting 1980’s wages need a swift kick in the ass.
My parting question? Is a by-product of cheaper food in this country a shift to the larger (more efficient) farms being forced on consumers thru economics? As noted in the title, these comments are mine, the stats are fact.
So in summary, I see average dairy farmer age being in the upper 60’s, carrying some of the largest debt loads in the business sector, especially dairy. Forging ahead in a catch 22 situation: Milk prices low, produce more to cash flow; milk prices up, produce more to pay down debt. Seems like a very broken system to me, kinda like a doctor following protocol issued by the insurance companies.
For all farmers reading this, our side needs to rethink our approach on MILK MANAGEMENT in conjunction with PRICE CONTROL. Less is more!