ST. CLOUD – The economy has not been favorable to dairy farmers in the Midwest. With the third consecutive year of poor milk prices, many dairy farmers are selling themselves, including farms in Stearns County.
Lucas Sjostrom is the executive director of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association. He says the changes in the international market have caused some of the low prices.
“Canada increased more milk than any other country in the world, which put the brakes on us. Second, Russia still doesn’t accept western products and China hasn’t bought like 2014, which was our best year, so all of those things are taken into account. “
Just because a farmer sells his business doesn’t mean he has failed. Sjostrom says that like most business investments, there is a lot of luck and skill.
Financial pressure in the market is forcing many farmers to find out how to move forward to support their families.
He says that while many farmers decide to sell their cows or farms, some take this opportunity to band together.
“There are a lot of farmers who are installing robotic milking machines, or who are adding themselves to last another generation. So, it’s not all pessimistic, it’s also a good time to invest. But we can’t. lose sight of the fact that yes, there are a lot of farmers suffering right now. “
Sjostrom says that while they plan to continue advocating for farmers at state and national levels, the best way to help farmers is to help the market by buying more dairy products and increasing demand for dairy products.