The future of small dairy farms

Low milk prices are forcing small dairy farmers into financial stress, and it may be more than they can handle.

Posted: Mar 1, 2018 6:14 PM

Milk has been at historically low prices for the last three years. This year isn’t looking any better and the financial stress it’s putting on dairy farmers may be playing a part in suicide rates. A study by the Center for Disease Control found people working in agriculture is higher than any other occupation. That has Agriculture Economic Specialist Marty Broccoli worried.

"You know as scary as it is the suicide rate is a concern. I mean these people have given their life blood building and working 7 days a week, and when it’s sinking its devastating to them."

Over at Dodge Farms, Jordanna Larish is struggling to make ends meet. She’s left college to help keep the family dairy farm going. The dairy farm’s been in her family since 1801, but now they’re considering other options in farming.

"The prices being so low and our herd being so small, it’s getting less and less feasible to do it."

The price of milk isn’t putting Rob Collins out of business. He’s keeping his profit levels even because of high volume, but if the milk prices don’t become profitable, he too may be looking for other options.

"We will outlast quite a few people because our cost of production is much lower than some others because of the volume, but I don’t want to do it long term and we won’t. We will find something else to do if we don’t see this turning around."

Jordanna Larish thinks there’s options out there for everyone. It’s just a matter of finding what works for you.

"The best option for people right now is to kind of lay everything out and see what’s available for their particular farm. Every farm is different. That’s the main thing. They’re all different sizes. They’re all different families and people, so the solution is different for everyone."

Getting out of the dairy industry doesn’t necessarily mean getting out of farming. There’s plenty of other ways to make a profit in agriculture, but Marty Broccoli says dairy is the backbone of the farming industry, and action needs to be taken to protect it.

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease and we got to really start squealing right now. We kept thinking it was going to change and change and change and go the other way and it’s not."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1973308

Reported Deaths: 51350
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings2611819909
Queens2604189526
Suffolk1913793303
Nassau1753923102
Bronx1731096365
New York1303844306
Westchester1245352236
Erie805561689
Richmond698671740
Monroe599441033
Orange45583782
Rockland45345941
Onondaga35576660
Dutchess27616433
Albany23409343
Oneida21291497
Niagara17888332
Broome17175348
Saratoga14222160
Ulster12835241
Schenectady12289192
Rensselaer10526136
Putnam1007991
Chautauqua8256132
Chemung7068133
Oswego690990
Ontario676591
Steuben6212141
St. Lawrence613794
Sullivan603268
Cayuga581090
Jefferson540863
Wayne515467
Cattaraugus506880
Genesee5014121
Herkimer4883107
Clinton447232
Madison425785
Tompkins401949
Fulton399786
Livingston394358
Montgomery3842114
Columbia380399
Cortland351560
Warren333756
Tioga333358
Wyoming321751
Allegany314183
Otsego313646
Greene308174
Chenango303173
Washington281355
Orleans271683
Lewis242333
Franklin237512
Delaware211936
Seneca185356
Schoharie152015
Essex148926
Yates109826
Schuyler97913
Hamilton3002
Unassigned184111
Out of NY0216
Rome
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Binghamton
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 45°
Rome
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 45°
Rome
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 45°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
Enter the Rock Your Body Giveaway from Alivana Aesthetics
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!