Ask any dairy farmer how they feel about today’s markets and they will say that the economics don’t add up. Simply put, $15 milk is not cutting it. This is true in any state, but certainly being highlighted in Wisconsin. The state's Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) reported that last year America’s Dairyland experienced a decline of 455 dairy farms.
To put that in perspective, in 2005, Wisconsin had 15,100 licensed herds, with an average herd size of 82 cows. A decade later it had 9,900 herds, with an average herd size of 129 cows. In 2022, the state had 6,350 dairy farms with an average herd size of 200 cows. The total number of cows in Wisconsin has held steady over the past decade at around 1.2 million cows.
Chad Vincent, CEO of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin shared that they work closely with the Department of Agriculture, and in March of 2020, they sent out a farm survey asking how long dairy producers are planning to stay in business and if they have a succession plan in place.
By KAREN BOHNERT
January 16, 2024