Dairy production is not always the first thing you think of when you are talking about Iowa agriculture. Usually, dairy is thought to be a Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California thing. However, the Iowa State Dairy Association (ISDA) will tell you that Iowa’s dairy production is strong and poised for the future.
You may not realize it, but Iowa ranks 12th in dairy production and is home to about 220,000 head of dairy cattle. This means we are producing roughly 450-500 million pounds of milk annually.
Mitch Schulte is the Executive Director of the Iowa State Dairy Association says the Iowa dairy producers are doing such a good job that dairy processors are running at max capacity.
Schulte says trade has been the biggest thorn in the side of Iowa dairy producers has been trade. Schulte says Mexico and China are the number one and two importers of American dairy products. This has just been compounded on top of already low dairy product prices.
Schulte says the effect has been a decrease in the number of dairy producers, but not in the number of cattle. He says for every dairy which has ceased operations in Iowa, others have been there to buy up the herds and expand.
Schulte says despite the adversity Iowa dairy farmers have faced, they are resilient and ready for the future.
So, let us all raise a glass of ice cold milk to the dairy farmers of Iowa. They are going to be here for a long time.