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National Milk expects more dairy consolidation in 2024

An ag economist for the National Milk Producers Federation says he expects an even higher rate of dairy farm closures in the coming year.

Peter Vitaliano tells Brownfield the USDA’s February Milk Production Report shows last year the U.S. lost nearly six percent of licensed dairy farms.

“That’s pretty much in line with the average reduction percentage-wise in the previous four years,” he says. “I suspect, due to a number of factors, we’ll probably see a larger drop than usual when the numbers come out a year from now.”

He says USDA’s farm numbers likely were collected before even more farms closed at the end of last year because of extremely low margins.  Vitaliano says some financial improvement is possible this year.

“I’m expecting improved margins this year, but not necessarily ones that are so high that they’re going to constitute anywhere near a full recovery from the financial stress that dairy farms, pretty much of all sizes, are experiencing this year.

USDA reports a loss of more than 1,600 licensed dairy farms since 2022.  In the Midwest, Wisconsin (-450 farms), Minnesota (-180 farms), and Michigan (-160 farms) experienced the largest number of declines.

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