According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture there are currently 1,331 Grade A dairy farms operating in the state, down 20 percent from four years ago. At least nine percent of Michigan dairy farms in the state have closed since last September.
“Up till now it would appear that those cows are just going on other farms.”
There has been an increase in the number of dairy farms that have closed, milk production is not declining as much as is needed to increase milk prices.
Michigan Milk Producers Association president Ken Nobis comments that three years of low prices have been depressing for farmers and some are cutting their losses. “You are starting to see more of them making that decision that enough is enough.”
Dairy Farmers of America regional manager Chuck Courtade adds that farms large and small have been leaving the business and it’s added pressure to the milk hauling system. “If you have a remote area where there aren’t a lot of dairy farms already and two or three decide to sell out, it puts a real challenge on getting haulers there and there’s already a driver shortage.”
Over the last 10 months, MMPA has lost more than 120 farms with a large portion of them have been Amish members. “That’s more than 10 percent of our membership on an annual basis because that still has the months of August and September on farms going out.”