Further, ERS data indicate that dairy farms are among the most highly leveraged in U.S. agriculture: about 70% of dairy farms use debt compared to about 30% of beef and 50% of cash grain farms. Some of the largest dairy farms are the most heavily indebted. Across all sectors and agriculture, dairy ranks third in the average debt to asset ratio behind poultry and hogs. The financial crisis has made the credit needs of dairy producers all the more pressing.
The phrase "behind poultry and hogs." is interesting in that poultry, hogs and dairy have high concentrations of economic power in the hands of a few. One might think officialdom would be very worried about that statistic.
I heard today, at the meeting in Morrisville, one official state he had spent more than 90 hours in bankruptcy court recently. Farmers are falling faster than policy makers could ever imagine.