Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

0209 PD: I won’t be a pessimist

Published on 14 January 2009
No one need say more about how bad the dairy industry’s situation has nose-dived in the last two months. Since the U.S. economic fallouts began in October, dairy markets have underperformed seasonal averages for the holidays, and in mid-December they unraveled and then absolutely fell apart by the first of the year. Our well-tuned, world demand-minded U.S. milk production system is now producing much more supply than is necessary to meet demand.

That means milk is plentiful and its value is cheap. Cheap enough that it sells for less than it costs to make. Sounding familiar, right?

That forces you to make some tough decisions. How will you survive this low-price era? You are probably hearing that it might be worse than ever before, and it might.



Yet I’m determined to be optimistic. Why? In my opinion, optimism will see the opportunities in supply and demand imbalances. Yet realism is also required. A realistic attitude will translate into survival. So since most dairymen won’t be selling assets to come up with more revenue, how can you cut costs or borrow enough to survive?

And where are the opportunities in this downslide? Progressive Dairyman is committed to providing answers to these questions in the months ahead.

As we prepare our coverage, I’d like to hear from you. What are your greatest cost-cutting challenges? What are your greatest obstacles? E-mail or fax your situations. We’ll include those scenarios, without using names, in our coverage. As we monitor the situation, I don’t want to tell you the things you already know. The situation is bad.

While there is comfort in reporting just how bad it is for everyone else too, dwelling on the negative will hide the opportunities. Capture the opportunities while surviving. That’s our theme.

We’ll continue to tell you how long experts think this will last. That’s meant to provide hope, not discouragement. Consider our coverage like listening to the radio during severe weather.


We’ll cover what’s going on around you, but more importantly we want you to know how much longer to endure in ‘survival mode’ and when the sun will shine again. PD

Walt Cooley