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Low prices force some dairy farmers out of business

For the fourth year in a row dairy farmers are experiencing devastatingly low prices for their milk. The downward trend has forced some people to lose their livelihoods.

Posted: Jun 3, 2018 10:59 PM

MANTORVILLE, Minn. - For the fourth year in a row dairy farmers are experiencing devastatingly low prices for their milk. The downward trend has forced some people to lose their livelihoods.

Local farmers tell KIMT it is a problem of supply and demand. As farmers have became more efficient over the years with milk production there is now a surplus across America.

Karen and Willie Naatz own a dairy farm north of Mantorville.

"You don't dairy farm because you want to get rich, you dairy farm because you love it.This is our passion, this is something we love. We grew up with it, it's in our blood," said Karen Naatz.

More than 200 cows call Naatz Dairy Farm home.

"I'm out here by 2:30a.m. every morning and we are kicking on milkers at 3:00a.m.. We are usually done with milking by 7:30 quarter to 8 and then it's clean up," explained Naatz.

Up until last October Naatz's milked three times a day but with a shortage in labor and the low milk prices they opted to milk just twice a day.

"We've got as low as close to the $12-$13 dollars, most people probably need $18 and that is just breaking even that is not putting a lot of extra money in the pocketbook."

They are just one of hundreds of families that are feeling the pinch on the pocketbook.

"It's some stressful times right now it's hard to make ends meet and make things cash flow on the farm," said Paul Daley, owner of Daley Farms.

Daley and some of his siblings share the business together, milking about 1,000 cows. It's a family operation that milks around the clock, with a lot of hired help.

"80-thousand pounds a day with the 1,000 cows which equates to about 9,000 gallons per day," said Daley while explaining how much milk the cows produced daily.

As the years have progressed farmers have became more efficient.

"The reality is that we are out-producing demand in the U.S. and to make that profitable for our dairy farmers we need to export that milk out of the U.S," said Matt Dodd a Veterinarian with Anderson Veterinary Services.

Dodd said he has seen the decline of the family farm and it has hit hard within the last six months.

"With our practice we have lost six clients since the first of the year we normally lose one maybe two a year over the last ten years that I've been here," said Dodd.

He added that we live in a global economy and we need to think globally.

"Around 15-percent right now is exported and if we can move that up to 20-25 percent that would be huge for the dairy industry in the United States," explained Dodd.

"Oh gosh, this one is more expensive and it says Select may this one is better for me versus this 2-percent down at the bottom of the shelf that isn't Select. What's the difference? Technically there is no difference that milk is the same across the board it's a good wholesome product there's no antibiotics in any of your milk, there's no hormones in your milk other than what the cow naturally produces just like any female," said Naatz.

There might be some hope on the future horizon for dairy farmers, as producers tell KIMT prices look to increase towards the end of the year. In the meantime they will be forced to live on borrowed money.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 486434

Reported Deaths: 6575
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1009131586
Ramsey43165803
Dakota36375392
Anoka33335388
Washington22121258
Stearns18752201
St. Louis14822263
Scott13308107
Wright12538116
Olmsted1181788
Sherburne874172
Carver775640
Clay692387
Rice670791
Blue Earth596635
Kandiyohi579674
Crow Wing521282
Chisago499545
Otter Tail483270
Benton447790
Winona418549
Mower405731
Douglas393368
Nobles387247
Goodhue386269
Polk343763
McLeod340049
Beltrami338651
Morrison324747
Itasca313646
Lyon313644
Becker312542
Isanti306756
Steele301511
Carlton300149
Freeborn282623
Pine282016
Nicollet259241
Todd248330
Brown245537
Le Sueur235720
Mille Lacs227947
Cass220424
Waseca209317
Meeker207434
Martin189928
Wabasha18673
Roseau180317
Hubbard160740
Houston157414
Dodge15294
Renville150340
Redwood147027
Fillmore13768
Chippewa136735
Pennington136316
Cottonwood135020
Wadena131020
Faribault123417
Aitkin119033
Watonwan11758
Sibley117310
Rock115914
Kanabec107519
Pipestone101624
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9488
Jackson93610
Swift87918
Pope8075
Marshall78015
Lake74218
Stevens7418
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68516
Wilkin67411
Koochiching61911
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5092
Grant4918
Norman4788
Unassigned44568
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40921
Red Lake3625
Traverse3075
Lake of the Woods2191
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 335218

Reported Deaths: 5443
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk51785551
Linn19463313
Scott17080210
Black Hawk14924292
Woodbury13778212
Johnson1312174
Dubuque12416194
Dallas1019092
Pottawattamie9828143
Story959345
Warren511674
Clinton500784
Cerro Gordo498882
Webster494487
Sioux479169
Marshall463072
Des Moines427161
Muscatine424191
Buena Vista412237
Wapello4025108
Jasper386266
Plymouth367478
Lee354252
Marion339869
Jones284654
Henry279637
Bremer268754
Carroll266349
Crawford252235
Boone242830
Benton240354
Washington239047
Mahaska215246
Jackson209738
Dickinson202440
Tama202365
Kossuth198055
Delaware185540
Clay183825
Winneshiek182827
Fayette178635
Page177819
Buchanan176929
Wright173831
Hamilton173742
Cedar171523
Hardin169439
Harrison167169
Clayton159854
Butler158831
Mills147920
Floyd147741
Poweshiek147730
Lyon145541
Cherokee145336
Allamakee142347
Madison141918
Iowa139423
Hancock137630
Grundy132030
Winnebago130231
Calhoun129311
Cass128751
Jefferson128334
Appanoose123147
Louisa122341
Mitchell120440
Chickasaw119615
Union118731
Sac118318
Shelby116433
Emmet115040
Humboldt113525
Franklin109019
Guthrie108928
Palo Alto100921
Howard99021
Montgomery96736
Clarke94720
Keokuk92029
Monroe89428
Adair81028
Ida81032
Pocahontas80919
Davis76323
Monona76327
Greene72910
Lucas71421
Osceola68215
Worth6667
Taylor64112
Decatur5699
Fremont5599
Van Buren53718
Ringgold50520
Audubon4739
Wayne45821
Adams3184
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