Trade war takes a toll on the dairy industry, but tariffs aren't - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Trade war takes a toll on the dairy industry, but tariffs aren't the only concern


Tariffs are now threatening to snuff out any gains in a slumping market that has already driven many dairy farms out of business. 

We visited a producer taking part in Wabasha County's 'Dairy Field Day,' and learned dairy producers face a host of concerns beyond the tariffs.

'Dairy Field Day' gave producers an opportunity to share ideas and concerns, learn from each other since they face the same challenges.

Darrin Young's parents started Emerald Spring Dairy in the 80's. The dairy farm now has automatic feeders for calves and a new cross ventilated barn.

Young milks about 1,100 cows, but despite the increase in efficiency of milk production, he says he's facing some serious challenges. 

"Right now it's kind of a tumultuous time," said Young. "Prices aren't good for the foreseeable future. So, you know, it's a struggle for most producers to just try and stay profitable and stay afloat."

Some of the problems in recent years include an oversupply of milk, and declining domestic use.

"So we're depending a lot on exports. So yeah, tariff things do make it a little uncertain," he said.

Trade has had a large impact on them in the last few months, more specifically the uncertainty of those market prices.

In the past, the change in prices happened over a period of 6 or 12 or 18 months.

"And now it's over a cup of of coffee in the morning, and it might change by my second cup of coffee," said Tom Anderson, an RCC Farm Business Management Instructor. "And that's what I think is causing a lot of the price uncertainty."

Since the trade wars started this summer, especially with Mexico and China, many dairy farmers say they're worried their livelihoods could be going sour.

Many dairy farmers are now in their fourth year of poor milk prices. And some say they can't survive another year of the downward trend. 

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