The Dairy Squeeze

Feb 26, 2021

U.S. dairymen and women dream of the good ole days where market volatility and supply chain snafus were as common as oat milk.

But recent economic reports have the industry reflecting on 2020, a rollercoaster of a year. From dumping milk in April to cheering on dairy retail demand in September, dairy folks had all the feels.

Tough stuff: Another 2,500 U.S. dairies closed up shop in 2020, an 8% drop-off from 2019. Wisconsin felt the biggest sting, losing 610 dairies, while Minnesota and Pennsylvania saw 300+ closures each.

But not all is bad… The industry added 97,000 cows and average milk per cow output jumped 1.4% per day. Way to be efficient, ladies.

Looking ahead: When the USDA notes your future as unsettled at best,’ it can be a little unnerving. More supply issues and market volatility could be in the future as experts predict continued foodservice demand flux. Plus, lower government purchases for the Farmers to Families Food Box program won’t help.

Add in the industry’s attempts to combat workforce issues by advocating for H2A programs and immigration reform in D.C., and groups like the National Milk Producers Federation have a lot on their plates.

+ While we’re here: The pandemic boosted fluid and alternative milk product sales throughout 2020. One alt-milk brand, Oatly, is getting a lot of hype. The Sweden-based company with A-list celebrity backing [looking at you, Oprah] filed to go public this week.