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Dairy financial stress likely tied to feed access

An economist says declining dairy cow numbers are reflective of regions facing tighter margins and higher feed costs this year.

Economist Tanner Ehmke with CoBank tells Brownfield farmers in New Mexico are especially getting hit hard.

“What we’re hearing antidotally is some producers are being forced to liquidate some of their herds to work with the bank,” he says.

While other regions, like in the Midwest, Ehmke says have been more favorable.

“We can’t just make a blanket statement and say balance sheets are stressed all over the country,” he says.  “There are spots that are more stressed than others.”

Overall, Ehmke says farm bankruptcies have been down which he says is likely tied to record land prices and record farm incomes last year supported by federal programs.

Brownfield’s Larry Lee interviewed Ehmke during the recent World Dairy Expo.

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