Dairymen, who has your back?

By: Dianne Shoemaker

During this year of financial challenges, it is easy to feel alone. Fact is, you shouldn’t. Dairy farmers and dairy support businesses you don’t even know are feeling challenged right along with you.

With the June Class III likely to settle around +/- $13.20 per hundredweight, the good news is that will be around 50 cents higher than May’s $12.76 Class III.

Currently, milk prices trading in the futures market for the rest of the year are looking more positive, although still below many farms’ full cost of production.

While adverse conditions, whether they are financial or production related, may make any one farm family feel alone, the fact is, as a dairy farmer a lot of people have your back.

Beyond farmgate

This really hit home for me this spring. In May, I had the opportunity to participate in the Large Dairy Herd Management Conference in Chicago, Illinois. The purpose of this meeting was for authors to present the information currently compiled for a new edition of the Large Dairy Herd Management textbook and foster discussion of those topics and others that should be included before the project is completed.

The American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) publishes this text, which is used in dairy herd management classes around the world.

Hundreds of people from universities, technical schools, and industry including researchers, teachers, consultants and farmers gathered. Not only did they come from across the country, they came from around the world. They sat side by side, listening to and discussing presentations in 15 subject areas all relating to what dairy farmers do every day — manage a dairy farm to produce quality milk for people to drink.

This really shouldn’t be a surprise to me. I have participated in the American Dairy Science Association annual meetings for many years. There, hundreds of research, extension and industry folks gather each year to share current research findings. The research ranges from highly technical lab work (I don’t select those sessions!) to on-farm application.

Participants learn what is new, what is proven to work, what doesn’t work (this is important!), and get ideas for new research.

Not alone

Everyone there has a passion for cows, producing milk, and the dairy industry.

While you have to deal with managing the many facets of a dairy farm, they may be highly focused on the mammary gland, rumen function, data management, ovarian function, estrous expression, forage harvest, personnel management, or some other related topic.

But, bottom line, they work to make your work easier or your animals healthier and more productive.

How did you grandfather’s cow become your cow today? Through the research in genetics, reproduction, nutrition, lactation, and management conducted by thousands of people across the country and around the world.

So if you start feeling alone, stressed by the current state of our dairy industry, remember that there are thousands of people around the world who are as passionate about dairy cows as you. They work every day to improve how we manage cows.

They have your back.

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