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Expert: Number Of Area Dairy Farms Down, But There Is Hope

Northwest Iowa — The number of dairy operations has been on the decline for many years, due to technology making it possible for more cows to be taken care of by fewer people. But during the last few years, the number has been going down more rapidly.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist Fred Hall tells us about it.


He says there has been a market imbalance for several years, in which more milk is being produced than is being consumed domestically or through export. And that’s causing low milk prices for dairy producers. He says things are improving slowly, however — and that some people are predicting a light at the end of the tunnel at the end of this year and the beginning of next year.

Consumers might be wondering, “If dairy prices are low, why are we not seeing lower milk prices in the grocery store?” Hall explains.


Hall says Americans are drinking less milk too. However, the demand for cheese and other dairy products remains stable to strong. He says the trade war also shrinks the ability to export and affects the price farmers get for their milk.

He says finding other markets for export is important to the solution. And he says there’s a strategy that producers should keep in mind.


Hall tells us a webinar will be hosted online by I-29 Moo University at 12 noon on Friday, May 17 to review the Dairy Revenue Protection program and the Dairy Margin Coverage program.

The Extension service presents more about the program:

Presenters will include Marin Bozic, Assistant Professor in Dairy Foods Marketing Economics, University of Minnesota plus Josh Newton and Cassandra Monger, Compeer.

Bozic will outline developments in the Dairy Revenue Protection program and how producers are benefitting from it as well as forecasts for the next year.

Newton is a crop insurance team leader and Monger is a dairy industry specialist, both with Compeer Financial. They will focus on Dairy RP from a lender’s perspective, including results from the first quarter in 2019; how DRP is set up to serve each operation; execution from application to endorsement and how the program fits into a producers overall risk management plan.

There is no registration and producers can access the webinar at the link below:

https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/isuedairy/ [1]

The I-29 Moo University is a consortium of Extension Dairy Specialists from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Now in its thirteenth year, the consortium provides resources and education to enhance a sustainable dairy community along the I-29 corridor by focusing on: best management practices, utilization of research-based expertise and resources, and ag-vocating the benefits of a vibrant dairy community. For more information about this webinar or other I-29 Moo University programs contact your state Extension Dairy Specialist. In Northwest Iowa, contact Fred M. Hall at 712.737.4230 or email at fredhall@iastate.edu [2].