Wisconsin’s Dairy Task Force begins work

Monday is the first day of work for Wisconsin’s Dairy Task Force 2.0, a task force requested by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to look into the issues causing low prices, large supplies, and financial stress for the state’s dairy farmers.

The task force is patterned after a similar task force that was organized in the 1980’s.  University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Profitability Director Mark Stephenson will chair the task force.

Wisconsin has lost almost four-and-a-half percent of its dairy farms, with another 44 selling their herds in July.  As of August 1st, Wisconsin has 8,419 licensed dairy farms producing milk, down 382 this year.  Wisconsin’s ag department says 465 dairy farms were lost last year.

In all, 7,845 Wisconsin dairies closed since August of 2003, meaning the state has lost 51% of its dairy operations in 15 years.  USDA statistics show the existing farms get bigger, as cow numbers and production per cow have actually increased.

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