America’s Dairyland has lost 429 dairies since the beginning of the year and is on track to see its largest decline in dairy farms since 2013.
Wisconsin has seen a significant decline in dairies in 2018 with 47 farms exiting the business in August, 44 farms in July and 54 farms calling it quits in June. The total number of licensed dairy producers in the state now sits just under 8,400 and is likely to drop further by the end of the year.
In a report made by Wisconsin Public Radio, this is the biggest dairy decline since 2013, when the state lost 434 farms in the first eight months of the year.
According to Mike North, president of the Dairy Business Association, the decline is not surprising given the current market and long-term trend toward industry consolidation. Recent price reactions to new tariffs on United States dairy products have definitely motivated some farmers to leave the industry early this year, North told WPR.
Low milk prices for the past three years have caused a serious dent in farm numbers as well, according to Shelly Mayer, executive director of Professional Dairy Producers.
"For some of these farm families, that they just can't continue on with the businesses and that’s what we always find difficult and devastating, to lose the farm numbers in that way," Mayer told WPR.
Since 2008, the number of dairies in the state has seen a reduction of 38.5% over the past ten years, dropping from 13,603 to 8,372. As the number of herds continues to drop in Wisconsin and across the U.S., the state may soon fall below 8,000 dairy farms by 2019.
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