Wisconsin lost 47 dairy farms in August, putting the state on pace for its worst year since 2013.
The latest data from the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection shows there were 8,372 licensed dairy producers at the beginning of September. That’s 429 fewer than were licensed at the start of the year.
Mike North, president of the Dairy Business Association, said it’s not surprising given the current market and long-term trend toward consolidation in the industry. “There’s lots of motivating factors in this but it’s a trend that’s been going on for my entire lifetime,” North said
But Shelly Mayer, executive director of Professional Dairy Producers, said low milk prices for more than three years just became too much for some farms. “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 said.
But both Mayer and North say retirement and the absence of a successor to take over the farm are also part of the reasons Wisconsin has fewer dairy farms.