A similar story comes from New York State.
Sandy Stauffer, who farms in northern New York, says it’s been a good year this year — and from a crop standpoint, probably one of the best years ever. One reason: Frost didn’t come until Oct. 20, which is late for northern New York.
With good crop-growing conditions and favorable milk prices, Stauffer says 2013 was a better-than-average year.
Fellow New Yorker Carroll Wade agrees.
“We are going to come out fairly well this year,” says
Wade, who runs a 45-cow organic dairy farm with his son near Jasper, N.Y.
He may have to buy a small amount of hay this year — perhaps 2 to 3 percent of his needs — but that’s a big improvement from 2012 when he had to buy about 25 percent of his forages because of droughty weather.
Getting more mileage out of his grass hay crop has helped Wade catch up on bills, which has helped make this a better-than-normal year.
“Other farms in our area that grow corn and beans are extremely pleased,” he adds. Some have reported having some of the best corn they have ever grown.
Asked if 2013 was a good year, California dairy farmer George Mertens answers, “not really.”
“We’re behind the eight-ball in California, there’s no getting around it,” he says, referring to the state’s milk marketing order and a recent decision by state food and agriculture secretary Karen Ross to only temporarily extend price relief for dairy farmers through next June.
Mertens says the price structure in California puts the state’s dairy farmers at a disadvantage to farmers in other parts of the nation.
Mertens, who milks about 800 cows near Somona, Calif., says the tough times experienced by California dairy farmers in recent years has caused many to explore other options, such as growing almonds, walnuts and pistachios.
And no discussion of the year would be complete without recognizing the role of exports.
Today, one out of seven tanker loads of milk (or solids equivalent) is exported. That could soon become one out of every six tanker loads based on the momentum experienced late in the year.
In any event, 2013 will be another record year for exports.