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Dairy cooperatives across the country are doing what they can to provide services and benefits to their members. They are implementing different processing and marketing methods, cutting their own expenses and offering tools to members to improve their individual operations.

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In January, I sent an e-mail to contacts throughout the industry requesting comments about what dairymen are doing to effectively cope with the industry’s current difficult economic situation.

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Large quantities of wholesome, quality milk are the major goals of dairy producers. However, dairymen also contribute to the beef supply each year through elimination of market (cull) cows and bulls. Approximately one-third of the total non-fed beef production originates from dairy cows, and one-half of all cows processed for beef in the U.S. are dairy cattle.

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If you talk to most producers, they would love to repeat 2008 again this year. Even though inputs were high, income was also higher. Unfortunately, 2009 is going to be almost a polar opposite in many aspects. That’s the bad news. The good news is hay growers still retain the ability to harvest quality hay, price it according to their needs and market it freely to hay consumers. Hay producers are not tied directly to commodity markets that rise and fall on futures and speculation. Being in control has risks, but in a down market, control is one thing that remains a favorable condition.

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It’s World Ag Expo time again. I know that my wife is most looking forward to this year’s show because I won’t have to be absent on Valentine’s Day. I’m sure that might be a benefit to other producers, vendors and attendees. Here’s the top 3 reasons I’m looking forward to attending this year’s show.

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