Poor Economic Market Continues to Hurt Midwest Dairy Farmers
ST. CLOUD -- The economy has not been kind to dairy farmers across the Midwest. With the third straight year of poor milk prices, many dairy farmers are selling out, including farms in Stearns County.
Lucas Sjostrom is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association. He says the changes in the international market has caused some of the poor prices.
"Canada has increased more milk than any other country in the world, which has put a damper on us. Then Russia still doesn't accept western products and China hasn't been buying like they did in 2014, which was our best year, so all those things factor in."
Just because a farmer sells their business doesn't mean they've failed. Sjostrom says like most business investments there is a lot of luck involved as well as skill.
The financial strain on the market is having many farmers looking at how to move forward to provide for their families.
He says while many farmers are deciding to sell their cows or farms, there are some taking this opportunity to regroup.
"There is a lot of farmers putting in robotic milkers, or adding on to last another generation. So it's not all doom and gloom this is also a great time to invest. But we can't lose sight that yes there is a lot of farmers hurting right now."
Sjostrom says while they plan to continue to advocate farmers at the state and national levels, the best way to help farmers is to help the market by buying more dairy products and increasing the demand for dairy.