Field auditors from Cooperatives Working Together are now in the process of visiting the first of the 294 farms that have been tentatively accepted in the program’s eighth herd retirement. When the auditors complete their task — likely by the end of September — 87,000 cows that produced 1.8 billion pounds of milk will have been removed from the nation’s milking herd.

CWT officials released more detailed information today about the size and scope of the self-help program’s second‐largest herd retirement. 73 percent of the farms selected are located east of the Mississippi River, while 70 percent of the 87,000 cows to be retired come from the

Western and Southwest regions of the U.S. 72 percent of the milk removed will come from those two regions.

“The increase in the percentage of farms selected east of the Mississippi in this herd retirement compared to the one just completed is an indication that the financial distress farmers are feeling is not unique to one or two regions of the country, but being felt nationwide,” says Jim Tillison, CWT chief operating officer.

Both the average herd size (296 cows) and the average production per cow (20,884 pounds) are the highest of any of the eight herd retirements CWT has carried out, indicating that “these are not just small farms with low‐end cows that would have soon been gone anyway. These are, in many cases, larger herds with significant potential future milk production that CWT is removing in order to help bring supply back into line with demand,” Tillison notes.

CWT is also removing approximately 3,200 bred heifers, nearly three times the next highest number since the option was added to the herd retirement program a year ago. All farmers bidding in this round will be notified no later than Aug. 31, as to whether their bid was among those accepted.

CWT staff will continue to monitor key economic indicators in order to determine if and when to implement another herd retirement.

Source: Cooperatives Working Together