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  1. R. James Cross says

    HI, Carrie, similar problems in the UK, for the second time in 5 years. From March 2014 we had a 44% price cut over 18 months, saw a gradual increase to a lower peak in August 2017, but from January this year we have seen another 18% cut which I can see will get worse. This on top of our (big) co-op going bust in 2009. I am amazed that more didn’t get out in the last trough; some have already been given notice by their buyers, and am not sure what will happen next. As you say too much milk: what is good for the individual farmer is not necessarily the best thing for the sector. As ever, thanks for your post.
    Best wishes, James

  2. arthur m hackett says

    I feel your pain. I covered dairy economics from when I got into the news business around 1970. That was how many farm crises ago? I’ve lost track. Not just for dairy but for corn, soybeans, you name it. Much of the increased output came from changes that may have been wise. Some came from changes that seemed good because a salesman, Extension agent (I hope not because I worked for a division of UW Extension but I’m sure it happened) or whoever.
    There’s a principle called avoided cost. If you don’t spend the money, you don’t have to produce the output necessary to come up with the money. I’m sure that’s not news to you but sometimes what looks good may not be. No one is ever going to know and see everything but you at least have to have that somewhere near the top of your decision making process. Only you know how much thought you put into that.
    Supply and demand always bats last. If farmers go out of business supply will drop and prices will stabilize. The problem is the fewer and fewer producers there are, the less efficient the whole process becomes. If General Motors built all the cars in the world, in short order they would be less efficient cars and prices would go up. You would lose the knowledge base that came with competition and you would lose the diversity of suppliers that make the industry function. Because agriculture operates on a much smaller scale you don’t notice it contracting as much as if, say, Ford or Fiat Chrysler or Toyota folded up but there would be damage to the nation’s economy nonetheless.
    I don’t live in Wisconsin anymore so I appreciate your posts to keep me in touch with the dairy industry. (I know they milk cows in Iowa but they don’t talk about it as much. )

  3. Maggie Nutter says

    Hopefully your little boy will always have a farm to live on. I can’t imagine how hard this is on your family, for the
    older generation that nourished and grew your dairy, to the innocent unknowing generation coming up.

    How hard must be to contemplation the future and another possible round of letters.
    Thank you Carrie for informing us of the pain and struggle in your dairy community. May people stay safe physically and mentally.

    You are in my prayers
    Maggie Nutter

    PS I will eat extra cheese and skip the crackers this evening.

  4. Karen says

    I wish all of us dairy producers could stand together! If we all dumped our milk across this nation for a day, or even two days, or a week what would that do? As farmers we feed this nation a wholesome product. We all need to eat to survive, just like we need doctors when we are sick. Farmers are the backbone to this country. It’s so hard to believe we are where we are. God help us all!

  5. Jennifer says

    We are living this same unstable situation in grain farming minus the regular (small yes but present for now) milk check. It breaks my heart to think that my children might not have to opportunity to work and live on farming/agriculture in the future. One day at a time for now.

  6. Mari says

    I too, will buy an extra gallon of milk and get extra cheese on my pizza. All of us in the ag industry should support each other. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the dairy farmers and families.

  7. Glenn Nix says

    Very similar things happening in Australia right now .When the Europeans where shut out of Russia they started dumping all over Asia & prices dropped . Right up to that point Governments & industry had been actively encouraging increased production . They where no where to be seen when things went pear shaped . Processors made farmers pay back increased prices that where payed on contracts signed up to a year before , value of contract is zero if they can do that . The complete dropping of growers is something i really do not get , iam sure if put to a vote most would prefer to share the pain across all suppliers of a 1, 2 3 or 4% reduction in contract . We now have ridiculous things happening in WA of milk being trucked from Victoria to WA for our annual autumn shortfall of production rather then paying locals more for the high cost autumn period .Cant be cheap to truck across a continent .

  8. Dawn C Panda says

    Carrie, your post brought tears to my eyes. I worked as a milker when I was a teen; I saw the dairy crash here in Oregon. I helped load a truck taking some of “my” gals to the slaughterhouse. Farmers I’d known my entire life were displaced; those proud white parlors torn down forever.
    I hope our farmers can make it through this. I’ll be drinking and promoting dairy products every chance I get. My little heifer will be producing beef for me, but I won’t be milking her…dairymen produce the best, safest product there is!

  9. Karen says

    Carrie, Very well said! I now live on my family’s Century Farm and know we are the end of the line. A sad time for family farms.

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