U.S. Largest Dairy Farms Dairies

Thursday, 24 May 2012 | comments

U.S. Largest Dairy Farms Dairies, Dairies Milk Small Vermont Wisconsin---U.S. largest dairy farms dairies’ number of dairy farms nationally has dropped from nearly 92,000 in 2002 to less than 70,000 in 2007, which is being updated this year .

As there is no a great changer in number of dairies but the small shift in dairies milk has affected states like Vermont and Wisconsin, which have strong dairying histories, but tend to have smaller farms than other major milk-producing states like California and Texas.


Wisconsin has lost nearly 200 herds so far this year and now has about 11,600.

That’s not the whole picture though. The number of small farms, with 100 to 199 cows, fell from about 11,000 to about 9,000 during that time, while those with more than 1,000 cows grew from about 1,300 to almost 1,600.

The MacLaren brothers are third-generation dairy farmers, but they will likely be the last in their family.

After working all their lives on the hillside farm in Vermont that their grandfather bought in 1939, rising to milk cows at 3 a.m., even in blizzards and sub-zero temperatures, they decided to call it quits, auctioning off their roughly 200 cows and equipment ranging from stalls and hoof trimmers to tractors and steel pails.

The loss of small farms hurts local economies and the many businesses that rely on them, such as feed and tractor dealers and veterinarians, she said. It also could be a problem for Vermont tourism, which is closely tied to bucolic images of the state’s mountains and dairies, although Bothfeld said she thinks much of the land will stay in farming.

While the number of dairy cows in the U.S. hasn’t changed much, the number of dairy farms has been dropping as small farms either go out of business or consolidate to become more competitive and cost effective.

The U.S. had been gradually losing dairy farms for decades, but then milk prices plummeted during the recession and fuel costs soared in 2009. Vermont lost 52 dairies that year, while Wisconsin lost 519.

Economic issues aside, the MacLarens are tired of being tied to the farm seven days a week. They plan to keep the land and grow feed — corn and grass for hay and silage — on more than 500 acres.

Prices have rebounded since, although they are expected to sink again to as low as $16.50 per hundred pounds this summer, said Diane Bothfeld, Vermont’s deputy agriculture secretary.

It will be a very difficult year,” said Bothfeld, who expects the auctions to continue.
Share this article :
 

Copyright © 2013. News 24 by 7 - All Rights Reserved