The Orangeburg Times and Democrat reports higher feed and fuel costs have dairy farmers diversifying their operations to cover expenses.

One Virginia dairyman says he has branched out, raising poultry and selling farm machinery to pay debts as expenses increase while milk prices show few signs of improvement. Rising costs have made it more difficult for dairy operations to stay in business and as older farmers are retiring, there are few young dairy farmers willing to take their place.

Dairy operations who aren’t taking on more projects are decreasing herd sizes to limit expenses. Already a demanding lifestyle, dairy farmers face crucial management decisions to increase milk production while decreasing herd size. The number of dairy cows in Virginia is at a 50-year low and has decreased from 335,000 in 1960 to 95,000 in 2010.

Source: Orangeburg Times and Democrat