Source: WXOW News 19
On average, 500 farms have been closing their doors every year for the past 15 years. Whether it be from a lack of generational workers or a decrease in how many glasses of milk you drink.
“What we’re finding is that there’s not new generations on a farm that want to go back into that farm so that farm transfer process isn’t there because their isn’t a farm successor,” said Heather Schlesser, Dairy Agent, University of Wisconsin – Madison Division of Extension.
According to the USDA, the average American drank around 247 pounds per year of milk back in the mid-70’s. Now, that’s down to 146 pounds as recently as 20-18. A drop of more than 40 percent.
Part of that reason: a variety of milk-alternatives.
“A lot more choices that we had in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Other demand for milk is less than what it use to be. There’s a lot more options out there on the market,” Schlesser said.
One of the biggest hurdles, getting off the ground for aspiring farmers.
Whether it be buying the equipment, the cows themselves, or even finding a place to build, newer farmers just can’t get their footing.
“The simply answer is yes. Land prices are a huge limiting factor to new farmers getting in,” Schlesser said.
Of course, dairy isn’t just a glass of milk.
Consumption of cheese, yogurt and other dairy products have remained mostly the same. With fewer cows producing more milk.
The question now: If that is enough to keep doors open and milk flowing.