Family Dairy Farms Fighting for Survival

Dairy farmers nationwide are in their fifth year of low milk prices that have driven thousands out of business. Other issues challenging the industry include decreased consumer demand in some dairy segments, and unresolved foreign trade issues that are harming exports and boosting surpluses.

In Minnesota, the median income at a dairy farm dropped by nearly two-thirds last year, from $43,000 to less than $15,000. And one out of 10 Minnesota dairy farmers ceased operations, according to the Star Tribune, which shares in this story a “wrenching” video posted by a struggling Minnesota dairy farmer earlier this week.

Meanwhile, other dairy farmers across Minnesota are struggling to find shelter for hundreds of livestock after at least 45 barns collapsed under the weight of this winter’s heavy snow, according to an AP story published by the Mankato Free Press.

A federal insurance program called Dairy Margin Coverage designed to help hard-pressed dairy farmers is expected to be ready for enrollment this June. But it’s complicated and time consuming to apply, and may not yield enough benefit for most dairy farmers needing financial help.