CSG Midwest
Pick the indicator, and it points to troubling times for the Midwest’s dairy industry. Wisconsin, which has led the nation in farm bankruptcies three straight years, lost 450 dairy farms in the first half of 2019 alone — on top of the 590 that closed in 2018. In all of this region’s major dairy-producing states, too, the number of licensed dairy herds is falling, by as much as 13 percent in Michigan (see map).
A worldwide surplus of milk, combined with the impact of tariffs, has led to multiple years of unfavorable market conditions for dairy farmers: Farmgate prices dropped precipitously in 2014, to below $17 cwt, and have remained down and below the cost of production, $20 cwt. (Cwt is a unit measurement equal to 100 pounds of milk).
Can states help turn around, or at least stabilize, the situation for dairy farmers?
This year, legislators in two of the nation’s top dairy-producing states have sought ways to help, including putting new dollars into price supports (Minnesota) and research (Wisconsin).

Stateline Midwest ~ December 2012

What is the economic impact of a single dairy cow? An analysis by South Dakota State University put it at $14,000, and in Nebraska, the state estimates that a 2,000-cow dairy operation generates 20 jobs and pays more than $200,000 in property taxes.

Animal agriculture is big business in the Midwest, and in recent years, states such as Nebraska and South Dakota have begun new initiatives to encourage its expansion.

Stateline MIdwest ~ November 2012

The 2008 farm bill officially expired on Sept. 30, a congressional inaction that has left plans for 2013 crop production in limbo while also costing dairy farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars and leaving  consumers with the prospects of much higher milk prices starting next year.

The dairy industry is an important economic engine for many communities in the Midwest, as reflected by recent actions taken in Wisconsin and regional interest in the future policy direction of the federal government.

Demand for raw, unpasteurized milk is on the rise - and policymakers in the Midwest are debating the potential benefits and risks of allowing farmers to sell the product.


NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of State Governments representing state, territorial and provincial policy leaders urge the USDA to provide back-payments to dairy producers who were financially hurt by USDA errors in nonfat dry milk price reports.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments representing state, territorial and provincial policy leaders urge the use of local, fresh milk in WIC and other federally funded hunger security programs.