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0509 PD: Which state do you choose?

Published on 13 March 2009

This issue is our annual state of the dairy industry edition.

Defining the state of our dairy industry was much more difficult this year. So we enlisted the help of producers who attended Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s (PDPW) Managers Academy in Florida this past January. We asked attendees to draw a picture that would represent the dairy industry in five years. This issue’s cover was chosen from among the attendees’ artwork.

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Choosing how to represent their artwork was also challenging. To the left are the two covers options we considered. I share with you our thought process about why we chose this issue’s cover over the other option we created.

Cover 1
We thought this issue’s cover portrayed the fateful and foreboding feeling that dairy producers currently face. I’ve recently heard of dairy producers not receiving milk checks because the assessments and liens upon them exceeded their value. Even the most basic of bills to pay, such as electricity, are hard to keep up for a few. Darkness is what invades when the lights go out. The dark background illustrates the reality of the current situation.

Cover 2
We thought this cover portrayed a more upbeat depiction of the dairy industry. While it may (or may not) be accurate in five years, I think this cover’s upbeat feel was accurate for the attendees in Florida. I heard it was a very uplifting meeting. For them, the situation was souring, but they found a way to look for the lemons. Lemonade is sounding better and better as the days become warmer, but for some producers, a cup of lemonade might be all they can buy after the milk check arrives. So although Cover 2 was optimistic, we thought it might not be realistic enough for producers to believe today. Which cover would you have chosen?

Nonetheless, we hope this issue helps project your thoughts forward to where the future of the industry will be after the current dust settles. And it will.

This year's annual dairy stats pull-out poster will help shed some light on how 2008 set up the year we’re having now. One of the most obvious trends is that the U.S. dairy herd continued to grow. It’s the fourth straight year that has happened. The USDA continues to predict the U.S. dairy herd will shrink over time, but it has bulged instead. That increase in cow numbers has definitely contributed to our oversupply today.

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We’ll let you choose what state of the dairy industry you get behind. PD

Walt Cooley
Editor

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