Friday, July 17, 2009

Dairy Farmers Falling Fast

Jim Millers testimony before the House Ag sub-committee on July 14th is available at:

Miller states:

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.


  1. Most of the dairy farmers in my neighborhood are running up payables, and beg borrowing and stealing money from everywhere they can. Most of the youger ones are done, they just don't want to admit it. There is a guy with 900 cows that has 5 kids, and I think they are going to loose there house. He started farming 5 years ago. Right now the bankers are just trying to let everyone ride until they can decide what to do with the farm.

  2. i think you should rephase stealing. farmers are taking from what little savings they have to pay the bills or borrowing it. some one my think the worst of us, but maybe you should rephase it as the coops are stealing from the farmers.