Desperation Acres

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Addie
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Desperation Acres

#1

Post by Addie » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:35 am

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
As dairy crisis crushes farmers, Wisconsin's rural identity in jeopardy ...

With collapsed prices of milk, grain and other commodities, farmers are losing money no matter how many 16-hour days they put in milking cows, caring for livestock, and planting and harvesting crops.

“It's pretty tough waking up every morning, going to the barn, and not being able to pay your bills, especially when you're putting in that many hours," Kurt said. "Something's got to change or the small farms are going to be gone."

Entire communities are falling apart as small farms go under, said John Peck, executive director of Family Farm Defenders, a Madison based advocacy group.

Grain mills, car dealerships and hardware stores suffer. The local tax base erodes. Churches and schools struggle or close.

“The multiplier effect on the rural economy is huge. It’s why you are seeing all these boarded-up small towns,” Peck said.

Wisconsin lost 500 dairy farms in 2017, and about 150 have quit milking cows so far this year, putting the total number of milk-cow herds at around 7,600 — down 20% from five years ago.


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Volkonski
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Re: Desperation Acres

#2

Post by Volkonski » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:51 am

These are indeed tough times for dairy farmers.
Americans, on average, drink 37 percent less milk today than they did in 1970, according to data from the USDA.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... be789bba8c

Americans have developed a taste for other beverages. Milk's nutritional values have been called into question.
Part of that stems from a questioning of the once heralded health benefits of milk. "Fat content, flavorings, and added sugar have all been viewed with disdain as the country struggles with its child obesity epidemic," the CoBank report notes. Americans no longer need milk for Vitamin D and calcium, since they can be had in the form of pills, nutritional bars and health juices. It's not even clear if milk is all that useful in the way of bone development. Or if we're even all that well-equipped to digest it.
The glut of milk is worldwide.

Planning for milk production is complicated because cows first produce milk at about age 24 months. Farmers have to guess how many cows they will need two years in advance.

About 15% of US milk production is exported. Our top three export markets are, in order, Mexico, Canada and China. Quick, name three nations with whom Trump is upending our trade relationships.

Worldwide milk demand is down.

New Zealand's milk exports are down about 23% since 2012. New Zealand's unused capacity could more than supply Mexico, Canada and China with as much milk as those countries now import from the USA.

Note that New Zealand, Canada and Mexico are all TPP members. Times are likely to get tougher for US dairy farmers.


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― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

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