Thursday, June 11, 2009

The economics of dairy farming is getting serious

Today, I was searching dairy-related info on Twitter, and I found a link to the following:

"In the wake of another dairy producer suicide, the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQA) along with Kings County Ag Commissioner's office and Colorado State University will be offering a webinar on farmer stress, depression and suicide prevention for professionals allied with the dairy industry."

Milk prices are extremely low right now, and they've been low before. They were also at extreme highs not so long ago, and milk prices will rise again. How soon? I'm sorry, but I don't know that.

I do know that if dairy farmers are killing themselves, then things are really getting serious and it's not just a 'rough patch.' Mr. Robert Fetsch was the speaker during the suicide prevention webinar, and he has a website "The Human side of Agriculture: Managing Tough Times."

Dairy Herd Management Magazine had some articles related to the human costs of low milk prices in the May 2009 issue, so if you're a dairy farmer or if you know a dairy farmer, it's worth reviewing the signs of stress and depression, as listed in their article. This is just one of the resources available in their "Crisis Management Resource Center."

If you're a dairy farmer, then don't be afraid to reach out. If you know someone who's a dairy farmer, then reach out to them.

Hope that helps.