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Management

Manage dairy employees, establish farm protocols, take on milk marketing, and become more confident in your farm financials.

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For dairy farmers who were betting the “three-year cycle” would shore up balance sheets, 2017 become a supreme disappointment. The year was modestly profitable for the lowest-cost producers, but for the average farmer, milk checks have failed to generate significant profits, if any at all.

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If you like old Westerns, then you are familiar with the popular scene where the heroine of the story is tied to the railroad tracks as a speeding locomotive races towards her peril. That scene aptly describes the scenario lingering in the dairy community.

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Recently, many dairy producers have seen their revenues decline as a result of milk check deductions. Dairy risk managers who want to protect their profitability must account for these deductions as they calculate their forward margins and consider adjusting existing margin management strategies.

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Milk prices improved somewhat in 2017, but price announcements don’t tell the whole story. Market deductions are cutting into the totals dairy farmers actually receive in their milk checks.

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As a Hudson Institute-certified coach, I have been taught to always ask, “How old are you?” This is not rude. This is a helpful piece of information to assess what key issues need to be talked about. Scott Zimmer of Bridgeworks has helped me with decoding helpful language for communication between the generations.

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As dairy businesses evolve and the economics of agriculture changes, farmers today are collaborating in ways that would have been unthinkable a generation ago, according to Farm Credit East’s Jan Bitter.

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