The number of licensed dairy farms in Minnesota continues to drop at a steady pace.
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New data out from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture says 315 dairy farms left the business between January first of 2019 and New Year’s Day of 2020. That’s the second year in a row the state has lost more than 300 dairies.

Further back on January first of 2017, Minnesota had 3,258 licensed dairy farms. As of January first of 2020, that number is down to 2,448 licensed dairy farms. That’s a three-year total of 810 dairy operations that are out of business.

Margaret Hart, communications director for the MDA, says, “The number of farms going out of business over the last five years has been higher than normal, due in large part to a drop in prices.”

It’s worth mentioning that at least some of those businesses have ceased their operations temporarily, which is referred to as “dried off.” For example, 47 dairies that stopped operation between December first, 2019, and January of 2020, are dried off. That means they intend to resume milking within 60 days.

Organic dairy farmers are in crisis due to drought, market consolidation, and skyrocketing energy and feed costs brought on by unstable global markets and inflation.

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