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April 30, 2019

Minnesota Dairy Industry In Crisis, Say Those Surveyed

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

A survey of Minnesota dairy farmers shows that many farms are in crisis, with some unable to acquire more credit and others finding the terms of extending credit unreasonable.

The Minnesota Milk Producers Association (MMPA) surveyed 583 of its members, and response rate varied from 19% to 26% depending on the question asked. As a result, it is difficult to project responses across all Minnesota dairy farms.

Nevertheless, 91% of those responding agreed that the state’s dairy industry is in crisis, with only 5% disagreeing. Ninety-seven percent describe current economic conditions as poor, and only 3% describe them as fair. Not one of those responding to the survey say economic conditions are good or excellent.

When asked about credit availability, 15% of those responding say they are unable to acquire new financing or extended credit. Another 25% say will be able to extend financing, but that the terms are unreasonable. A further 45% say that terms of extending loans are tighter but manageable.

MMPA is asking the state legislature to adopt three proposals this session to help bridge our dairy farm families through this crisis, says Lucas Sjostrom, MMPA executive director. They include:

  • A state dairy margin insurance rebate that would provide dollars to dairy farmers enrolled in the federal coverage program
  • Tax relief by adopting a conformity provision to the new federal tax law when farmers sell through cooperates
  • Conservation payments to eligible dairy farms that adopt sound conservation and sustainability practices

Read more about the proposals here.