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USDA’s monthly report estimated that March 2017 U.S. milk production was up 1.8 percent compared to the same month a year earlier, the smallest year-over-year increase since August 2016. But despite the slowdown, increasing cow numbers in most major dairy states would indicate dairy farmers started spring with both feet on the accelerator. It was winter weather-related problems in the West that reduced the overall speed of growth.

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Forty-four Wisconsin dairy farms producing about 500,000 pounds of milk per day are still hunting for a market home for their milk, with their current market access closing on May 1, according to Ben Brancel, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

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Editor's note: News briefs are editors' compilations of business news from top publications, which they have tailored for the dairy industry.

Given current dairy labor shortages, many producers are looking to automation to decrease their labor needs. But the dairy industry isn’t the only industry that finds automation attractive. McKinsey & Company, a global research and consulting firm, just released its top 10 list of the most popular business articles for the first quarter of 2017. Guess what topped the list? Automation.

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Like their counterparts in conventional dairy farming, organic dairy farmers currently face an excess supply environment. However, rising demand points to a bright future for the U.S. organic milk industry, according to a new report from CoBank. Organic milk generates the highest sales of any certified organic commodity, and steady demand growth will lift organic fluid milk market share and further stimulate product innovation.

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See A Need

“I don’t want to be a dairy farmer.” These are not the words dairy farmers want to hear from their children.

“We have spent a lifetime building our dairy business, and now we do not know who we will pass it on to.” These sentiments ripple across the dairy community.

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