By Ching Lee, assistant editor of “Ag Alert,” a publication of California Farm Bureau
After earning record-high milk prices in 2022, dairy farmers have seen their earnings plummet in recent months, with more operations struggling to stay in business and some closing their doors for good.
Their plight has prompted comparisons to the 2009 economic crisis that forced droves of dairies into bankruptcy. Some say it may be worse this time around due to additional inflationary pressures and higher interest rates that make it more costly for businesses to borrow money.
“This is a real downturn,” said Jack Hamm, a dairy farmer in San Joaquin County, California. “These last two months have been every bit as bad as 2009. There’s dairies for sale every week.”
In 2009, dairy farmers faced an unprecedented financial catastrophe as the global recession took hold. With an abrupt decline in export market demand and an oversupply of milk in the world market, milk prices tanked.… Continue reading