The Journal Sentinel reports the past year was a good one for most farmers, but low milk prices, soaring feed prices and other high expenses could lead some dairy farmers to quit the business in 2011.

USDA figures show eight to 13 dairy farms are closing each day, most of which are small to midsize farms who can’t handle the high feed costs.

Robert Cropp, a University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension dairy specialist released a report this week on the outlook for dairy farmers. Paul Rozwadowski, a dairy farmer from Stanley, Minn. And chairman of the National Family Farm Coalition’s dairy subcommittee says next year could look a lot like 2009, one of the worst years in the industry since the 1970s. The National Family Farm Coalition adds some farmers losing money producing milk as expenses are two times the price they’re getting for milk.

While the start of 2011 looks bleak, Cropp predicts the situation for dairy farmers will improve during the second half of the year. A slowdown in milk production, improving sales and adequate dairy-product exports will help farmers recover.

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