INSIGHT ON: Agribusiness – More milk, please

Posted on Jun 1, 2014 :: Insight On
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

In 2013 the state’s dairy producers exported products valued at $399 million, a 41 percent increase from the year prior. To meet that demand, Wisconsin dairy farmers produced 27.6 billion pounds of milk, a new record for the state.

It still wasn’t enough.

Wisconsin dairy farmers produce about 90 percent of the volume demanded by producers to make dairy products, such as cheese. In an effort to close that gap, Gov. Scott Walker announced a third round of grants under the Dairy 30×20 Initiative, which has a goal of state dairy farmers producing 30 billion pounds of milk by 2020.

In this latest round of funding, 11 New North dairy farms will receive grants of up to $5,000 that farmers can use for a range of projects, including new facilities to improve business operations and cow comfort that will increase milk farming production, efficiency and profitability. A total of 43 grants were made statewide.

“Our investment in Wisconsin’s agriculture industry through these grants will enable these farmers to improve their profitability, and allow Wisconsin to thrive as a leader in
the nation’s dairy industry,” Walker said in a statement. “Agriculture contributes more than 350,000 jobs to the state’s economy.”

Wisconsin is home to nearly 10,500 dairy farms. The state ranks fourth in the nation in dairy exports. Wisconsin’s dairy industry:
» ranks first in the nation, at $158 million for the export of whey.
» ranks second in the nation for the export of cheese in 2013 ($183 million).
» tops the list for cheese production.
» produces more than 13 percent of the nation’s supply of milk.

The top destinations for Wisconsin’s dairy products include Canada, Mexico, Japan and China.

While Wisconsin has seen an increase in the number of corporate dairy farms, more than 86 percent of the state’s dairy farms are still owned by an individual or a family.

Grants to New North farmers

» Jay Fitzgerald, Reedsville
» Chad Krzewina, Crivitz
» Lloyd Meyer and Larry Meyer, Chilton
» Richard Navis, Cleveland
» Jeffrey Pionek, Manitowoc
» Dennis Rank and Josh Salentine, Luxemburg
» John Reudinger, Van Dyne
» Mark Ryan and Leroy Smith, Fond du Lac