cows feed bunk
November 7, 2018

Markets, Labor and Tech: What's On The Minds Of Dairy Farmers?

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

More than 400 dairy producers and industry members spent the past two days in Las Vegas, Nev. at the MILK Business Conference. Conversation ranged from markets, to new technology. During each session mobile polling provided some insight into the issues on farmers’ minds. Spoiler alert: despite a host of challenges, most producers are optimistic about their futures.


Fifty-seven percent of farmers in attendance expect their mailbox milk check to stay the same in 2019.





When it comes to improving milk prices, the vast majority of producers (88%) focus on producing higher quality milk with higher components.


Unsurprisingly, 47% of producers believe China to be the trading partner most important to U.S. dairy, followed closely by Mexico at 39%.





All of the producers at the conference are comfortable with retail brands knowing about production practices on their farms, but 70% says they should have to pay for that information.


Labor continues to challenge producers. In fact, 59% of producers say an unstable labor supply will be their biggest challenge next year.





Many farmers are updating their balance sheets on monthly (43%) and quarterly (43%) basis.


Most of the producers attending maintain good channels of communication with their bankers, 29% of them speak with their lender on a weekly basis, another 38% give them a call on a monthly basis.




The best news of all, 69% of producers at MILK Business conference are optimistic about the next five years of their businesses.