Ricketts says expanding dairy in Nebraska key to productivity, efficiency
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says the outlook for the state’s dairy producers remains strong despite marketing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to reporters at a dairy event this week, Ricketts says a recent University of Nebraska-Lincoln study proves the industry’s resiliency. “Relative to the rest of the country, our dairy producers are getting more efficient and increasing productivity faster than the national average, which is good,” he says. “We saw during the pandemic milk production was up 3.6 percent and as I mentioned since 2014 we’ve grown the size of the dairy heard by about 9 percent. It’s growing but we want to see it grow faster.”
The same study from UNL says if a single dairy processing facility comes to the state, it would generate nearly $2 billion dollars annually.
Ricketts says an investment from processors would pay dividends for the state’s economy and dairies. “If we can add more processing plants, we can also expand the size of the heard here. The herd has expanded over the last few years. We’ve gone from about 50,000 head to 59,000 head but we’d like to see that expand further.”
The study looked at a butter, cheese, yogurt or fluid milk plant in Norfolk, South Sioux City and Grand Island.