Friday, March 09, 2012

Change in Number of Dairy Farms

In the last 10 years, how has the number of dairy farms changed?

Dropped by one-third according to this comment reported by Farm Policy from Sen. Brown (OH):
While I support programs like Milk Income Loss Contract for the financial relief it provides to farmers in bad times, since its creation in the 2002 Farm Bill more than a third of America’s dairy farmers have gone out of business. 
 [Updated: Only a tenth of the number in 1971]


Anonymous said...

I could believe that. It seems to me that there has been a huge consolidation except for some pockets of the country like parts of Wisconsin where the "family" dairy still exists. I don't see how agriculture in general doesn't follow the model of consolidation with the technology we have today. I could see a scenario where we have a few huge companies doing the majority of the farming in the US. They can mitigate the weather risk to some extent by having lots of ground. What if a John Deere or Monsanto just added farming to their portfolio? I hate to see the small family farm disappear myself, but I don't know how the economic model could be tweaked to avoid it.

Bill Harshaw said...

I haven't looked at the figures in other areas of agriculture, but I think the trend towards consolidation is the same, but perhaps a little slower (thinking grains and cotton).